I have some friends who were part of their school’s cross-country team. The importance of the long race is not just how one starts, but how they maintain their endurance through the whole race. The same is true for us as Christians. The book of Hebrews encourages the Christian to run with endurance the race that is set before them by looking to Jesus, who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2). Continue reading
In chapter three in of Nehemiah, at first glance you we read about a unique situation, Israel was working together to rebuild the wall. This task was not small as the perimeter around the city of Jerusalem consisted of almost 2 ½ miles of destroyed wall with multiple gates that needed to be rebuilt. You see the systematic approach to the rebuilding as the narrative goes from the northern part of the wall, to the western side, and to the eastern.
What is unique was not just the rebuilding of this broken-down wall but all who helped with the rebuild. There is a phrase that is written several times in this chapter, “Next to him.” It required many people working side by side to accomplish this big project. Continue reading
Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know. Continue reading
As a pastor, there are many times that I am thankful for those who have gone out of their way to assist me, and see that their way of serving the Lord is by blessing me and my family. They are special to me and I can say I thank the Lord for them!
God establishes the body of Christ to help one another. Each person in the body of Christ has a part to play in God’s overall plan in this world. Paul wrote, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 esv). We see when hospitality is given in the body of Christ that there is unity. The apostle Paul knew a couple with that trait: Aquila and Priscilla. Continue reading
As a parent, there are certain things that I am less desirous of doing than others, such as going to Costco as a family. Don’t get me wrong; I love being with my family and I love spending time with them. But Costco is usually busy, and when you have three young children, it’s just not that easy. I always tell my wife, Alyssa, that it is like trying to herd cats.
There have been successful trips to Costco and that is when we are all moving together with the same goal. We get in, have fun, and get the items we came for. Plus, the kids get to eat all the free samples!
In the same way, the church is made up of more than individual Christians; we are a body of believers that is called a family. We can easily start going our own way and doing our own thing. That is why Paul urges the church to be unified. He writes to the Philippian church, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1–2 esv).
The Bible is full of encouragement and direction in pointing the Christian to look to Jesus. One of those ways is through the example of Bible characters. We get to see the good and the bad, the celebrations and the warnings, all which points us to God’s unmerited grace in the lives of the saints.
“Be” is a new series that will focus on different characters of the Bible and will highlight either their Christlike character or we will see the warning from how they lived. It’s easy when one reads Scripture to put themselves in certain texts and want to be like Paul or David or Peter. Though this may not be bad, the Christian’s ultimate goal is to put on the character of Christ (Colossians 3). The “Be” series will focus on those people mentioned once or twice in Scripture that were a help or a hurt to the church. Continue reading
I got another e-mail—a friend who is facing a trial. I thought, “Wow, another person, Lord!”
Yes, I know that we will face trials. The Bible reminds us that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). We will face opposition and suffering (John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12). This is part of living in a fallen world—I know that. But, the question is not so much how to fight through trials but how one can thrive in trials. Throughout the New Testament, we read of apostles who thrived in trials. One particular story is found in the book of Acts and it changes our perspective of trials.
It is Palm Sunday and we can go through the traditional mindset of Passion Week. But, let us not treat Palm Sunday like an event on rotation on the calendar. This event in history is huge. It was prophesied many many years before Christ and of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah prophesied by saying,
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foul of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 ESV).”
Zechariah was writing of what we read Jesus did to fulfill this prophecy as he entered into Jerusalem at the beginning of passion week, riding on a colt as the Triumphant King.
Have you ever been asked by your children for the same thing over and over again? You start getting frustrated, your eye starts twitching. Or, maybe it’s me. I have this tendency to show patience to others but can be very impatient to those who are close to me.
Maybe it’s not your kids but you have had to endure the abuse from some authority or peer at work. Maybe it’s a neighbor and your patience for them is growing thin. They keep doing that one thing to annoy you. Or, maybe it is a physical ailment. Something that seems to be consuming your thoughts and it doesn’t look like it is going away.
The apostle Paul writes, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12–13 ESV).
The other day I met a gentleman for coffee who was interested in serving in ministry. I wanted to hear a little about himself and his heart in ministry. I left that conversation excited about ministry, desiring to reach the next generation, and realizing that time is precious. It was one of those conversations that I walked away thankful for men like the one I just talked with.