torch bearer
bringing the light of Jesus to a dark world John 8:12

Furthering your Education

8/31/2011 09:01:00 AM

School's back in session!

Depending on the age you are, these words invoke different responses. Anywhere from a gag response to dancing in the streets and thanking Jesus! No matter our response, the truth is another school year has begun. Teachers, books, friends, bullies, smells of the mystery meat for lunch, the flavor of pastes as it crosses over your tongue. Ok, maybe not the last one. Students, of whatever age, go to school for one reason (or at least you should) and that is to learn. To grow mentally. The old saying goes "You never are too old to learn something." Hopefully this year our students will exceed even the teachers expectations in learning.

As I dropped off my kids for their first day of public school today (yes, we have homeschooled them until high school and now we have put them into public school) I got to thinking. You know, I hope that what they learn will not just stay within those walls of brick and mortar. I trust that what they learn will stay with them and continue to be the foundation pieces they use to build an even better education throughout life. To go and spend all that time behind a desk and not actually use it for later in life is such a waste. Maybe that's why my dad would say when I was screwing around with homework, "I buy you books, send you to school and all you do is chew the covers off!" Our education is not just for now, and not just to graduate, it's to use later on in life. To build upon.

You know, the greatest education we can gain in life is from the Bible. Whether it is us reading it or if it is by someone (pastor/teacher) explaining it to us. We have such a treasure in our hands as we hold the words that God has spoken to us. A treasure that is not to be only used on Sunday mornings as we sit in the chair and listen to someone talk. An education that is squandered if we have our devotional/Bible time just so we can say we did it. A resource of growth that is wasted if we hear the words and never act on them. Our time with Jesus is a time that is to be put to use. Put into action. Used as a foundation for later, as well as for now.

We were never called to be students of the Word just so we could say we are students. Not even so we can say we graduated. And certainly not so we could just be proud of how much we know and keep it to ourselves. We are students of the Word of God so that we might grow as followers of Christ, and so that we might go and make disciples (other followers of Jesus) with what we have learned.

Our challenges for today are this:

Start learning if you aren't already. Spend time with Jesus (read the Bible, pray, listen, worship) so that you will grow. Need some help of where to start, try this great resource .

THEN

Go and tell someone what you learned today. Live it out in our actions, emotions, responses and motives. Use the words that God has given us to use. Use the words that we just learned today in our time with Jesus.

What are the challenges that you may face in using your 'education'?
How are you already doing it? I would love to hear how it's going!
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Thunder on the Snake River

8/29/2011 12:10:00 PM

One of my favorite things I get to do as a pastor is water baptism. Man, it doesn't get any better than seeing people who have made a commitment to Jesus in their heart take a bold step and publicly profess Jesus.

Yesterday we had water baptism in a very warm Snake River. How excited I was to be warm the whole time! There was a large crowd to witness what was going on, both from our church body as well as just people at the beach. We were blessed to have a jet boat race going on at the same time, so people from all over were there to watch boats do 100+ MPH up the river. Little did they know they were going to witness something even more powerful...4 people making a public confession of their faith in Jesus. Now that is a true meaning of Thunder on the Snake River!

Congratulations to those who were baptized yesterday. So very honored to be a part of this powerful moment in your life.

Do you remember your water baptism?
Do we go back and revisit it in your mind from time to time? We should!
Have you never been baptized and want to? Talk to me or your pastor. It is a great act of obedience in your walk with Jesus.
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Learning is from the birds

8/23/2011 08:26:00 AM
I was sitting outside and enjoying my Java and Jesus time, (some may call that their devotion time, but I just have to be different) when I noticed something interesting going on at the neighbors.

No, the cops weren't involved nor was there anything really news worthy, I just noticed a bunch of birds. Little birds. Little birds who were sitting on the roof one second and then they would disappear into the gutter the next. I watched this for a while and was trying to figure out what they were doing. They would carry on in this manner and then fly off. The whole group of them were involved in this behavior. It finally came to me, they were getting seeds and such out of the gutters! They were at the Golden Coral for birds. Smart little critters, not having to go far for their food. Taking it where they can get it. But then also not staying in the feeding trough but leaving it to go do their little birdie work...whatever that is.

I believe that as followers of Jesus we need to grab a lesson from these little feathered friends. A couple things I want to point out. One is that we don't need to go far for good spiritual feeding. We don't need to go far to find good solid teaching. Every town and city has a Bible based group of believers in it. We don't need to get caught up in the flare of the next greatest teacher or movement when we are blessed to have spiritual food close by. Don't miss out on what God is doing through the local body of Christ. In the same manner, we are blessed to have this thing we call the Bible at our disposal. We are not bound by just one person hearing from God and telling us what they think, we have the ability to open the Bible up daily and read and apply it to our lives. Don't leave the responsibility of being spiritually feed to your pastor. Serve some food up yourself.

Secondly, just as the birds didn't stay in the gutter eating their food and getting fat, we are not made to sit in our spiritual feeding trough and get spiritually fat. We are to be daily fed, but then daily exercising. Our weekly gathering time (don't forsake this time!), our Bible studies (individual or as a group are key to growth), our camps and conventions (you should always try to be a part of one a year) are not designed for us to just learn from them so that we might have more knowledge. Instead, they are for us to be feed so that we might go use what we have learned to effect the world around us. Just as my bird friends got fed so then they could use that energy to go do their work, that is what our "feeding" time is for.

Third. These little fellers knew they had a job. I don't know what it was, but they did. They didn't bother telling me what their job was and they didn't bother trying to do someone else's job. They seemed content in doing what they needed to do.

So, let's get fed today. Find a devotional that you can easily read and that has you reading scripture with it. If you need some direction in this, let me know. Then after our feast of Jesus' power, let's get out the door and get to work. The world is dependent on you and I to tell and show them who Jesus is. And please, let's not fight among ourselves over our jobs within the Body of Christ. Let's just get out there and BE THE CHURCH!

Remember, Church starts NOW!
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My God

8/18/2011 08:13:00 AM
I have a view of who God is. You have a view of who God is. Everyone has a view of who God is, even if they don't believe there is one. Each view may vary a bit from the other. Sometimes it's due to life circumstance.

Many years ago I was going through a rough time in life. My marriage was falling apart, I felt alone physically and spiritually, I was making life choices that were not God honoring. It was a mess! I went to a prayer meeting one night for the sole reason to get out of the house and not have to be around Amy. Get reason huh?

I was feeling alone and distant from God. Of course, it wasn't Him that had moved in our relationship, it was me. That night, a wonderful man of God showed me how close God still was to me and how much He loved me. The man never said a word, he just sat by me in my distress and placed his hand on my knee. As a loving father would to a wounded child when words cannot fix the pain. Through that gentle touch I saw a picture of who God is. He is a God who is close and faithful. Full of love for His children. Even when His children aren't close, faithful or even deserve love. He just wanted me back!

God is revealed in different ways to us throughout the Bible. He is the very Creator of heaven, earth and you. He is the same God that was then revealed to us as a precious baby in human form. He then is shown as a brilliant light of rainbow colors, flashes of lightening and rolls of thunder! (Revelation 4)

Maybe today you need the gentle touch of our God. Maybe you need to experience the strong right hand of our Warrior God. Maybe you just need to remember that He is near and not a distant God (one that wants a personal relationship with you). Wherever you may be in this, just remember... It is the same God. A God who is powerful, yet approachable. A God who wants relationship with you.
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Confessions of a Follower

8/17/2011 11:40:00 PM

Sometimes its really hard to know how (or if you even want) to praise God.

Ok, I know that is an odd thing for a follower of Christ to say, but we all have our tough days. Sometimes you just don't feel worthy. Or sometimes its because words are just so inadequate to describe our Creator and God. Whether because it's hard for me to praise God or to come up with the right words, I am so grateful for Psalmist (as well as the other authors of the Bible). There are times that all I can do is read something like this over and over:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand. (Psalm 95:1-7)

As I read this today, I came to the conclusion that no matter how I feel, I must praise God. If I am short of words, these can help.

Lord, I will praise you. As I do, I know the world around me will dim in comparison to You and your majesty! God, I love you!

Are you having a time of falling short on praising God adequately (or at all)?
Do these words from the Psalms help?
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Asotin, WA, United States
Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, and called to be His torch bearer to the world.
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