What Do the World Cup and Evangelism Have in Common?

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What is the biggest universal sport? I would say soccer. The one sport that is played in every country on a national stage is soccer. I have had the opportunity to go to several different countries and wherever I go I see soccer being played. They play with a beat-up ball, a can, or anything that they can kick; but it is still the same sport. Though the United States didn’t qualify (that’s a different blog post) and soccer may not be the biggest sport in the United States, however, it is a different story throughout the rest of the world.

The World Cup happens every four years and it may be the biggest event that occurs worldwide. It has been stated that 3.2 billion people tuned in to watch the world cup in 2014 (that’s almost half the world’s population) and you can assume that number is higher with this World Cup. Soccer is an international sport that touches almost every nation despite language barriers and differences. Soccer or “football” as its called in other parts of the world, points to a greater goal (no pun intended) that the Church is called to have.  The Church (the global or universal body of followers of Jesus Christ made up of believers throughout history) is called to make disciples of all nations. What do the World Cup and Evangelism Have in Common? Continue reading

Do You Have FOMO

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Did you know that they have diagnosed there is an actual phobia about missing out in life? It’s a real thing and it has been heightened due to social media. It’s called FOMO-Fear of Missing Out. FOMO happens when you realize that other people are somewhere or doing something that you are not. If has been defined this way by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “having anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”

I didn’t think it was a real thing until recently. We had a big event for our church and many of the staff and fellow pastors went to this event. I needed to stay back to help with Sunday morning services, understandably so, church still needed to happen. I was fine with this and thankful for any opportunity but something happened; I started to see pictures of what the other team members were experiencing and doing. FOMO hit me!  I felt like I was missing out. Do you ever feel like that? For others it can cause depression, discontentment, envy, and anxiety. Continue reading

How to Pray for Others

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Many times I get this question, “Pastor, please pray for me.” Not only do I do my best to pray for them right then and there but I try to remember to pray for them throughout my week. I am often wondering how do I pray for others. I know it is lifting up their request but more so, how should my heart and mind be when I pray for them. I am so thankful for Scripture as we can see a model of what this looks like. Paul, the Apostle, would often pray for the different churches and mention that in his letters to them.

One of those particular prayers is found in the book of Philippians. In his pastoral prayer, we have a model of the heart behind praying for others.

1) Our prayers need to be thankful for others

Paul was thankful for the church in Philippi, he was thankful for them. He writes to them, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you (Philippians 1:3).” As a pastor I am reminded how I am thankful for the believers at my church. I am thankful for the unity that comes in Christ. Though there may be different in our interests, we have different backgrounds and upbringings, we have different likes and dislikes, different hobbies, different professions, different yet we have Christ who unites us. We go from unrelated to family. We go from strangers to a community. Christ who unites us is far greater than where we are diverse.

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Responding to Evil

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Less than a week ago I woke up to the news of the violent school shooting that took place in Santa Fe, Texas. Ten people were killed and another thirteen wounded by a high school gunman. I am still praying for the families as the attention from the media has moved on to other things, knowing the hurt and pain is still very, very fresh for them. Though this happened in Texas and not in my home state, the whole United States was affected by this egregious act.

I knew I would start seeing the posts that say, “Pray for Santa Fe” on the day of, which is well meaning and I hope is not just a knee-jerk response just to post something but hopefully they are genuinely praying. For me, I had to evaluate my response. I think sometimes when I hear about evil acts I sometimes don’t always respond well because first, you hear it and you need to bear the news that you hear. It should trouble us when we hear about tragedy. It should trouble us that this even happens and how often it happens. It is a hard thing to hear and to bear and you can play naïve by overlooking information. Second, I think others pass over this news quickly because there is a sense of responsibility in how one should respond. If you do not take time to listen, you can not have responsibility. As a Christian, there is a biblical mandate to stand up against evil. The Bible says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).” I believe there should be a responsibility for Christians, especially in America with our constitution and rights to be able to expose injustice and evil. Continue reading

Be Like…Tychicus

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I have a friend who is always willing to help, be there when there is a need, even when it is not the most convenient. I am beyond thankful for this friend. If you have someone like that, you know what a treasure that is to have. There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Tychicus who my friend reminds me of, and we can be encouraged to be more like him.

Be like who? Tychicus! Just say his name 3 times fast! He is mentioned by the Apostle Paul at the end of Ephesians as “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord whom Paul was sending to them as an encourager (Ephesians 6:21-22).” At the end of Colossians, Paul again mentions this loved brother by adding that he is a faithful servant (Colossians 4:7). Continue reading

Unconfessed Sin?

We see in the Bible that we are are called to confess our sin. For example, John tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous (just) to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” We are called to confess and repent form sin and it is crucial that we do it (Mark 1:15).

Who are we confessing our sin to? In this passage, John is directing the reader to confess their sin to God as he is the one who forgives. God is the only one who forgives and He freely forgives because of Jesus did for us through his death and resurrection (1 Timothy 1:15). Continue reading

The Main Event

An estimated 103.4 million people watched the 2018 Super Bowl take place which revealed the prominence it has in many homes throughout America. This is a staggering amount of people all watching the same thing around the same time, yet I hate to break it to you; this is still not the greatest thing, even since sliced bread. The greatest event that has taken place throughout history took place over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ, who suffered and died, though he did nothing deserving of death, conquered the enemies of death and sin by rising again to life. Why? He did it for us. “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV). Continue reading

Are You Ready for Passion Week

Yesterday marked the start of Passion week for Christians around the world with it being Palm Sunday. Every year, I try to direct my family on what did the last week of Jesus’ life look like? How can we look through the Gospels and see how he spent his week leading up to his death and crucifixion and ending with his resurrection? As a Christian parent we put the emphasis on what Easter is all about, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. A good resource that I keep going back to is The Final Days of Jesus by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor.  Continue reading

Don’t Be Like Demas

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

United In Christ

United in Christ

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