It is God’s will for you to change! Wait! Don’t stop reading! I know that no one likes to change, but what I want to talk to you today about is good, positive change and growth in your life that God has designed. Continue reading “Change”
“He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:24).
It is very special to have “found” the Gospel of Jesus Christ when I was without purpose and no hope of every finding it on my own. I grew up in a home where the things of God were given only intellectual assent and never personally applied or taken serious. It was like knowing it was indeed true but pretending to live like it wasn’t. Continue reading “The Gift of Presence”
Growing to be all that God desires you be is the result of many strands, or decisions that you make on a daily basis. To grow spiritually does not happen by chance or as the result of good genes. To grow into maturity is not the end of the process but rather it is part of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in you. The goal is to experience a “transformed” life that has so radically changed that the result is a new set of values and purposes. We live to the glory of God through difficult circumstances and heart-wrenching suffering.
Time always reveals the truth! I recently celebrated my 59th here on the planet. The reality of the quick passing and brevity have hit me like a ton of bricks. More than ever I am aware that the majority of my life is behind me. If I was to counsel my younger self what would I say to him? Good question, isn’t it?
By the grace of God, he has given me the awesome privilege to serve some very incredible people in some awesome places on planet earth. But…it could have been much better than it was. I often wish that what I know now I could have learned much earlier. It is not as if there were not people who tried to tell me but I was too stubborn to listen!
First, I would say, “Be patient with people and circumstances.” I often wanted people, and ministries, to change their point of view. Instead of working through situations I decided to move on. They may never have changed into what I wanted them to be but grace teaches me to give room for God to work in you and in them.
Second, I would not have listened to the opinions of others who were negative against administration and people in authority. My older self would now say that God knows what he is doing, there could be a greater purpose for why that policy was brought forward that you know nothing about. Furthermore, they could be right!! The horror of horrors! I could be wrong!
Third, allow God to mature you where he has placed you. I have often thought about people who are “lifers” in those places I left. There is such a maturity when they speak of their ministry. They speak with the wisdom that can only be grasped after years spent investing in a place and people.
Finally, I am thankful that I am still learning. God is still teaching me that there is much yet to be done. I don’t look backward with bitterness or depression but I optimistically use the lessons from the past to move forward. Philippians 1:6 continues to give me hope, ““And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I am not 60 yet, I have 360 plus days to go! But I am excited to build on the foundation that God has established in my life. I’m still in process, still learning and still want to learn! How about you?
Pastor Bill Finch
One of the hardest places to live is “in between.” The term suggests uncertainty and I have yet to meet anyone who likes to live at that address! We like to know when the next pay cheque is coming and who is writing it! Most of us build our lives around routines that includes when we get up in the morning, it seems that we could drive to work with our eyes closed (not recommending that at all!) because we know the route so well and our jobs have pretty well-defined expectations and demands.
It happens every year to me. I am in year 6 of reading through the Bible and every year I am privileged to read through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. At times, to be honest, I wonder, like I did the other morning, why do I have to read this stuff? Anyone else want to make the same confession? At times, Moses does get very monotonous and repetitive as the Law of God for Old Testament saints is codified. Is there anything for us who live on the other side of the cross of Jesus Christ?
We are introduced to the laws of burnt offerings, the laws of the Sabbath, the laws of how to deal with leprosy, etc. As we read through this material one thought stands out and is repeated,
“No one will ever know…”
“Who says you can’t…”
“You work hard, you deserve this…”
If you are like me, these thoughts go around in my head many, many times during the day. These are the moments when a giant named “Temptation” comes and secretly whispers in my ear.
How do we handle that giant when he comes to lure us away? One thing we can guarantee, he is coming. He is out to deceive you into thinking that it is okay. After all, you are human and everyone does it.
I am reading in these first days of the year through the book of Genesis. We are introduced to Abraham and God’s promise to him and his sons to give them land and descendants to live in that land. As we witness the faithfulness of God in bringing that to pass, we are introduced to the character of these people. We learn who God blesses and how His presence goes with those who walk in humble obedience to His revelation. Through the grammatical device of repetition, we are taught that God’s presence goes with those who walk in integrity.
We come to Genesis 39, and we read the phrase, “The Lord was with him…” I don’t know about you but I need His presence every single day! I need Him in my marriage, in my work, in my relationships with others, and especially I need Him in my intimate self talk/walk where nobody else is looking. Joseph knew he was such a man, too! In the face of daily temptation to do what seemed to be the natural thing to do, Joseph responded, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Full stop! Think about what we just read! Here is a red blooded young man in the prime of his life miles and miles away from home, what would preventing him from sowing his wild oats with the boss’s wife? Only one thing…His relationship with God! When push came to shove, his relationship with God was way more important to him than a few fleeting seconds of pleasure.
When temptation comes knocking at your door what will prevent you from following it? By the way, it is not a matter of “if” it comes but “when!” What do you value more than the fulfillment of sin’s desire? Sin will come knocking so we must be ready to give the proper response. If you and prepare our hearts with verses like Proverbs 2:7, “…he (the Lord) is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Or, Proverbs 10:9, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his way crooked will be found out.”
May the Lord help us to live in His victory and in His presence today. He is our victory over sin’s deceptive voice.
Human beings have the tendency to group together according to language, race, religion and even sports teams! We like to be with people who think like us and like the same things we enjoy and experience.
There is one category of experience that all human beings go through that ties us together. Every person passes through some kind of negative experience. From health, to relationships, to finances, to difficulties at the place of employment, or with the government, or the sad experience when someone we love suddenly dies, and those who suffer persecution for what they believe. Job 5:7 expresses it in the following way: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”
Here is the question: How do we survive the trouble? How can we make it through? And, what is God after when bad things happen to good people? I think there are 3 things that we need to keep in mind:
- The storms of life are common to all people. They will come to everyone on the planet in one form or another.
- When we pass through life’s storms we learn who really is in charge. Every human on the planet likes to think that he/she is in total charge of everything. We believe we are little ‘gods’ who rule and reign. When the storms come we learn quickly that we are not independent creatures left to our own design. We learn that God has a reason for everything that happens and for when it happens.
- We learn that when we do pass through the storms of life that we need God! The great biblical example is Job. He needed to know that God could intervene at any time for any reason. Job needed to know that God was God! The storms in life teach us that God is so good that He reminds us our need for Him everyday. So don’t try and go it alone! Ask for His wisdom to teach you the lessons He is trying to have you learn.
In Mark 4, the disciples are with Jesus in a boat! Wouldn’t you love to have Jesus in your boat? Suddenly a storm explodes around them, their become afraid, but Jesus is in their boat! Why were they afraid? They thought, like we do in the storms of life, that Jesus doesn’t care! Here are His words to these trembling sailors, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith.?”
Disciples should know their Master. You and I should know the Master. But we often forget who is in the boat of life with us. God is reminding us that He is always showing us how much we need Him. I am just beginning to learn that lesson. How are you doing with this, my friend?
I am finally learning the secret of success. Notice the key word in that sentence, ‘learning.’ I am still in the process of learning how to be a better husband, a better father, a better friend and a better pastor.