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Intentions and Assurance (Ministry Update)

It has been a while since my last update concerning my family and the ministry here in York. I intended to have an update ready by Christmas. I intended to keep writing articles each week on my blog. I also intended to work a while with Clear View Cleaning. Of course, many of our intentions, no matter how noble, hardly ever come to fruition. Plans can change and expectations can fail. Proverbs 16:9 states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Far too many times we tell God we will follow Him in faith, but then end up spending each day trying to analyze where we are headed and striving to fully understand the why’s of our walk. Rather than rest confidently in God’s love and wisdom, we want to question His own motives for us! We are like Israel in the wilderness quibbling over God’s ways. What our your intentions God? Do you really know what’s best for me? Are you angry with me and just stringing me along to punish me? What joy would fill our hea…
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The Day After

Thanksgiving Day is over, but this does not mean that our devotion to thank God everyday should be. In Psalms 34:1, David declared, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” How often do words like "blessed", "thankful," or "undeserving" pass our lips from day to day? I find that in my own conversations I am an expert at utilizing the statements "I want this," "I gotta have that," and/or "I just need a little more." Oh how quick we are to set our hearts on the possessions of this life that we lose sight of the promises of the life that is to come! Black Friday has become our new holiday. On Thanksgiving, we manage to quickly tip our hats to God, while taking a meager glance at the blessings we have already received. Yet, once we feel we have paid enough lip service, we immediately cast our eyes on bigger and better things. For David, he not only made a commitment to praise God continu…

Leaving Church

Just a few years ago, studies revealed that less than 40% of people who claim a religious background go to church services. Around 28% claim to attend at least once a week, 8% once a month, and 4% once a year. Whether these statistics are accurate or not, for many churches, there is a steady decline in membership each year. I have often been asked why so many people, especially young adults, leave the church and what can be done to ensure stability. Of course, the solution is not so easily attained. There are many reasons people hardly darken church doors. It is all rooted in one’s perception of the church, ranging from misguided notions that faith equals ignorance to hurt emotions one faced during a time of church conflict. Try to describe your view of the American church in one word. I will list some that I have heard others use: hypocrites, cultish, uninformed, divided etcetera. Now, you will find that many of the people that say such things are only mouthing what they have seen, …

Saul's Slippery Slope: Final Lesson

The downfall of King Saul is marked with pride, presumption, and foolish hastiness. Rather than trusting the will of God, he became reliant in himself and in others. He also treated the commands of God with flippancy and irreverence. Because of this, Saul was tormented with nightmares and faced an onslaught of depression. It is stated in 1 Samuel 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him (ESV).” This has been the point of much contention because some wonder over how God could do this. The Bible reveals that God is not the author of temptations (James 1:13) nor is there any darkness in Him (1 John 1:5), so how do we make sense of such a statement? We must realize the implications of the first part of verse fourteen which said that God's spirit left Saul. The departure of God's favor and presence meant that Saul would undoubtedly experience anxiety and fear. Due to the hardness of his own heart, God's hand of pea…

Saul's Slippery Slope: Part 8

There are times when we try to complicate the simple call of following Christ. Rather than faithfully heeding to His Word in humble obedience, we are like Naaman who just couldn't believe that to be healed from his leprosy meant only to exercise trust in God's command and wash in the Jordan river seven times. He sought to question why it was such a little demand and he wanted to be the object of some grand spectacle. It is so imperative as believers in Christ to remember that it is not about us! Oh how often we either try to add “how-to-get-spiritual-quick formulas” to our faith, or we attempt to throw in sneaky loopholes to whole heart commitment, so we can appear to be chest deep in the fruits of the Spirit, when all the while we're just grazing the surface of the Christian walk. This is what Saul did in 1 Samuel 15. Rather than stay focused on carrying out God's command to entirely wipe out the Amalekites, he started to come up with his own assumptions of what seem…

Saul's Slippery Slope: Part 7

For the past several weeks, we have studied about King Saul's behavior and foolish choices found in 1 Samuel 13-14. In these chapters, you will see that self reliance, pride, and impatience would begin to control Saul's steps. Probably though, the most glaring testimony of his fall from being a godly king and a faithful servant of the Lord is recorded in 1 Samuel 15. There is no set time-line given as to when this took place during Saul's reign. Only that from the very beginning of the chapter, Saul is commanded by God, through the prophet Samuel, to completely destroy the Amalekites. Not a single person or livestock were to be kept alive. Because of their cruel and wicked treatment of the Israelites, during the days of Moses, God had declared that judgment would fall on the people of Amalek. There were no spoils to be had in this battle, only that Saul would, “....claim everything they have for God by destroying it (1 Samuel 15:3 / GWT)” Upon hearing the Lord'…

Tongues of Fire

I will, Lord willing, continue my study on the pitfalls of Saul, but for now, I want to touch base on a subject that is of grave importance for the church. Concerning the coming of Christ, John the Baptist once declared to the the crowds that he baptized, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11 / ESV).” Just before His glorious ascension into heaven, Jesus told all His disciples, “...for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth(Acts 1:5, 8 / ESV).” Indeed this mighty outpouring of power and holy fire would take place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). In his book, Impossible People, Os Guinness wrote, “Jesus, the…