Are you ready?

“All aboard the roller coaster 2015 now leaving platform 1!”

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We are not sure at all what is ahead of us but we are strapped in ready for some excitement. The great news is that we are not left guessing about what the road ahead looks like because we know who is in charge. He has a plan for our good and for our growth as we walk daily with Him.

We are not sure at all what is ahead of us but we move ahead full of faith that God will not be surprised by one thing. We know that everyday that He gives us breath that He has a purpose for our lives. Therefore, we live for His purpose not for ours. We put his agenda ahead of ours and delight in living to serve Him and others.

As I anticipate this year I want to continue to strive ahead for all that the Lord has for me to accomplish. I know that whatever I accomplish it is rooted in the daily habits of reading and meditating on His Word, asking Him for daily doses of wisdom to be prudent in the use of time and energy. My priorities must be aligned with His. Matthew 6:33 tells me to seek God first above anyone or anything else. That is my daily battle because I struggle with the flesh and the world to control my thinking and feelings.

I also want to be a faithful husband to my wife. I want to grow in my love for her and deepen those cords. This year we will celebrate 32 years of wedded bliss! That is hard to believe but it is only because of her patience and God’s faithfulness that we have made it this far.

I want to be faithful to the ministry that God has called me to. It is my desire to grow in my knowledge of the Word of God and its application to my own life and the life of those I have been called to shepherd. I want to continue to be involved in serving the Spanish speaking church, wherever that may be. I am not sure what form that will take but I trust God to open those doors in his timing.

God also surprises us along the way. I am sure that in 2015 he will do the same. What about you? God has given us tremendous opportunities to grow in our relationship with Him and grow in love with others. Pray, be observant, and be involved in His work!

I close this blog with Paul’s prayer for the Romans in that New Testament Epistle, chapter 12:1-2. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Are you ready for the ride?

Pastor Bill

The Freedom of Grace

Just in case you missed it….

For the last couple of weeks I have been receiving phone calls that have become a little annoying. When I go to answer the call with a very polite, “Hello”, on the other end I hear the horn of a cruise ship with a voice saying that I have won a free cruise.  I have never let the call go far enough to find out if my bride and I actually need start packing. But it did get me to thinking, is there anything in life that is free?

Continue reading “The Freedom of Grace”

Hungry to Learn

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“School House Rock”[1] was television’s attempt to teach children basic things about math, science and government. It aired in the 1980s during Saturday morning cartoons.  One phrase I recall was “conjunction junction what’s your function.”  Remember? It taught kids school subjects while they watched Bugs Bunny and others. I, too. have had the privilege of teaching in a Bible college, and in the local church as a Pastor and Teacher.  I have discovered that the best students are not always those who receive  “A’s”  (speaking as one who rarely received one!) but the best were those who loved to learn.  On the other hand, there were others who one could tell were not there because they choose to be there. In my annual Bible reading plan, I have arrived at the New Testament epistle the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. These people were absolutely amazing! We ought to try and bottle what they had! They had such an insatiable desire to learn but not just in the sense of “book learning.” They took what Paul taught them and lived it out.  They were any teacher’s dream! I can imagine that they sat on the edge of their seats waiting for every word to fall from the lips of God’s servant. As they heard the word of God, they accepted it as the word of God.  To them, Paul was not just another lecturer visiting them to talk about the latest philosophy to come out of Rome. When they heard him speak they understood that God had sent him to be his spokesperson.  It was more than a philosophical chat about abstract ideas. Reading from 1 Thessalonians 2, they understood that these were God’s words and as such they sat with rapt attention at the Word as it was taught. This word was received by them into their hearts and began to take root in their lives. How fervent was their desire to learn God’s Word? Such was their dedication to learning God’s word that they were willing to suffer at the hands of their fellow citizens.  I would call that dedication to learning! As they heard the word and applied it, they knew that they had become citizens of the kingdom of God and as such needed to live distinctly from the rest of the culture. What an impact!

This got me to thinking.  With what attitude do I come to the Word of God when it is preached and taught?  I think that we in North America have become so accustomed to coming to church and hearing God’s Word that it has become mundane.  We have lost the thrill of learning it to live it! Now, those of us who have the privilege and responsibility of teaching must to do so in creative ways.  As the late Bible teacher, Howard Hendricks said many times, “We don’t have the right to be boring when we teach the Scriptures.” But how do we hear the Word? 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.”  For babies, milk is fundamental for their growth and development, no one has to lecture them on their need for it. For the believer in Jesus, the Word is fundamental to learning to become all that God desires us to be.  You and I must long to grow in our relationship to God. It is fundamental! I often think that every time God gives me the opportunity to sit in on a sermon or in a small group that this is another opportunity to marvel at his grace, to deepen my trust in him and grow to become more like Him. I am on the edge of my chair, I don’t want miss a thing. You?

Delight in the Lord

Psalm 37:4,”Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” is a verse that I have quoted often in my life.  Usually I do so trying to twist God’s arm to give me the my desires that are not necessarily his.  Many times those desires did not line up with what God was trying to teach me at the time.  Some were very legitimate desires, desires of service, but God was teaching me patience and more importantly, teaching me other valuable and vital character lessons that were much more important than the desires I was expressing. 

I have often been frustrated in my Christian life because I felt that verses like Psalm 37:4 were not really true in the practical sense of the word.  “This is a fine verse for those who get what they want but what about the rest of us?” I would say to myself and the Lord.  But I have come to understand in experience of living and trusting God that the Lord does indeed have His own timetable.

The most valuable lessons that I have been learning in my Christian walk is that God is constantly teaching me character lessons way before He shows me what He actually wants me to do for Him.  Many times, I found myself trying to twist my wife’s arm to convince her of what I thought was God’s will.  How strange for a Christian man, a pastor even, to go against the teaching of 1 Peter 3:1-6 and still expect God to honour his desires?  God wanted me to learn to walk in harmony with my ‘helper that is fit for me’ before I could ever hope to have my desires fulfilled.

Christian husbands need to learn to listen to their wives.  We are so busy most of the time trying to tell our wives that they need to submit to us, while we forget that there is a mutual submission that the Apostle Paul talks about that is just as valid as the submission that the wife is to give to the husband.  Wives do have a sixth sense about things, they do have a sense of spirituality and intuition that we men lack in a big way.  I needed to learn that lesson.

God, through His Spirit, has put into my spiritual DNA, the desire to serve Him.  That is first and foremost.  Our spiritual desires to please God and serve God come from God.  Therefore, we must wait for God to bring all the strands together.  We should not force situations or persons to do what we want.  We must be humble enough to see God’s timing in each and every circumstance.  There is a reason for the ‘no’ answer you maybe receiving from God.  We need to be attentive to what the Lord wants to teach us at that moment because it will prepare us for what lies ahead.

To serve God is the greatest privilege that you and I will ever have! It is my prayer that wherever you are in your spiritual walk that you let God be God and learn the lessons he has for you at this particular moment in time.

For God’s Glory,
Bill