31 days of Thankfulness

 

Thoughts from a Thankful Pastor

 

  1. I am thankful for life. It’s by God’s goodness and faithfulness that I am a part of the human race.
  2. I am thankful for eternal life.  Jesus opened my eyes, ears, and heart and drew me to Himself.
  3. I am thankful for my wife. I cannot imagine life without my sweet Sarah.
  4. I am thankful for family. One of the greatest gifts a man can have are children and grandchildren. I am a blessed man.
  5. I am thankful for more family.  I have my brother, in-laws, ex-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews that I love with all my heart.
  6. I am thankful for friends. I am surrounded by people who love, support and even correct me.
  7. I am thankful for my calling. Why God would call me is a mystery, but am humbled that He would want to use me.
  8. I am thankful to be an American.  When I think of the Billions who are born in 3rd world countries, I stand amazed at why I would get to be born here.
  9. I am thankful for hard times, for without them I would rarely lean on God.
  10. I am thankful for my church staff who truly keep me laughing and on my toes at all times.
  11. I am thankful for my church family. They are so faithful to the cause of Christ and I am inspired daily by their walk.
  12. I am thankful for all the wonderful churches I have gotten to serve in over my life.  Each one brings memories and learning experiences I will always treasure.
  13. I am thankful for my parents. I continue to learn from them though they have been gone for nearly 20 years.
  14. I am thankful for Godly Pastors, ministers, and lay leaders who helped guide me along the way in my early years.
  15. I am thankful for key senior adults who always were there to guide and encourage me through the years.
  16. I am thankful for my home church, First Baptist Hobart, who truly gave me the foundation that I still hold to today.
  17. I am thankful that God is my Father.
  18. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is my constant guide.
  19. I am thankful that the Son is my Savior and Lord.
  20. I am thankful for the Bible for it is my light and my lamp.
  21. I am thankful for my neighbors because they are easy to love.
  22. I am thankful for my critics because they force me to keep my motives pure.
  23. I am thankful for grace. Enough said.
  24. I am thankful for mercy. Enough said.
  25. I am thankful for second chances.
  26. I am thankful for forgiveness.
  27. I am thankful that every day is new.
  28. I am thankful for food.  I really like food.
  29. I am thankful for humor.
  30. I am thankful for warmth in winter and coolness in the summer and the beautiful weather in spring and fall.
  31. I am thankful that I could write a thousand more things I am thankful for.

 

- Pastor Scott

thanksss


10-22-14 Midweek Update with Pastor Scott


Where is the balance?

Where is the balance?

Weighing-scales-001

How do you balance being a Christian with conviction, and yet still have a heart of love and compassion? How do you NOT come across as a fire and brimstone fundamentalist and still hold on to your soul of biblical belief? How do you love the sinner and still hate the sin? Is this balance even possible?  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and are passionate about following Him, if you believe in the Word of God and truly love people then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Just in the above paragraph I probably have already offended people and I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff…yet!  Just wait, I am certain to really upset people in a bit!  What can I say? It must be a gift!

I am writing this article on October 18th, 2014. It is my son’s 26th birthday. When my son was born 26 years ago, I never would have thought we as a church would be facing some of the things we are facing today.  Just in the last few days a couple of newsworthy stories have come to light.

 

1. Annise Parker

annise Parker

Annise is Houston’s first openly gay Mayor.  She lead the charge to subpoena local Pastors to give up their sermons and private emails. Why? Because they opposed Houston’s “Bathroom Bill.” What is that you might ask? Recently Houston passed an ordinance where people who were confused whether they were a man or woman had the right to visit the bathroom of their choosing. Does this concern you? Evidently it concerned a lot of citizens in the Houston area because more than 50,000 signatures were collected to attempt to repeal the ordinance by a referendum. The city disqualified (or threw out) enough of them so the question was removed from the ballot.  The Mayor didn’t want to hear the voice of the people. Long story short, many Pastors who opposed the ordinance have been subpoenaed to give up their sermons and emails to see if they “crossed the line” in their endeavors.

Is this the first step of the Government telling Pastors what they can and cannot preach from their pulpits?

 

2.  The Hitching Post wedding chapel

Hitching Post Wedding Chapel

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are both ordained ministers in Coeur D’alene, Idaho.  They were recently threatened by city officials that if they denied performing a same sex wedding ceremony,they would face jail time and/or thousands of dollars in fines. Donald and Evelyn, both in their 60’s have run “Hitching Post Wedding Chapel” for more than 25 years. They use the chapel as a ministry to share God’s Word and love about the purpose of marriage. Yes, marriage between a man and a woman.

Again, is this a sign of the times where ministers and churches will be forced to marry people, even if it goes against their religious convictions?

 

3. Hillsong church

hillsong-ultimateworship

Hillsong is one of the largest churches in the world.  They recently came in the news for their stance, or lack of stance on the subject of Homosexuality. Carl Lentz, The Pastor of Hillsong’s New York based church was quoted, “Jesus never talked about homosexuality, and therefore Hillsong won’t do so either.” His wife was then heard to say, “Who are we to judge?” Lentz went on to say, “It’s not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it’s – that’s their journey.” Thankfully Hillsong’s founding Pastor, Byron Houston, of the 30,000 attended church in Australia came out yesterday claiming to believe that the Bible does teach against homosexuality.

Please understand, I am not a homophobic person. I have family members, very close friends, and even fellow believers that are in the gay lifestyle. I love them and they love me. They would testify that I am a pretty nice guy. But they also know my conviction on what I believe the Word of God teaches. Saying all this, here is my question. How do we have a conversation with people without coming across as a closed minded, old fashioned, bigoted fundamentalist who hates? Have we reached the point in society that if you take a stand on biblical values you will be labeled as one of those haters? Drum roll please……..and the answer is, yes, I’m afraid we have. But it doesn’t mean we have to act that way. There’s no doubt we live in different times. Can we make a difference? If so, how? There are a lot of things I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that we change the world one person at a time, and that person starts with me.

My church knows what I believe. I’m pretty straight with them. But I try not to preach to them about sins they have a handle on. It’s pretty easy to get an “Amen” on sin that “others” struggle with. I’m lucky to get an “O Me” when I talk about sin that hits close to home. It would be like preaching to a room full of obese people about the sin of anorexia …. Well, you get the point….

A truth that has lived through the centuries comes from Paul’s pen:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”    2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NASB)

I googled it a bit ago and one source says there are 667 different sins listed in the Bible. Homosexuality is only one of them. Leave it up the Devil to get us so focused on just one… that one.   So here’s my point. Love people. Share the Gospel. Live the Gospel. Be the Gospel. Don’t shrink back from biblical convictions. Don’t be afraid to call sin…sin! You can love the sinner and hate the sin. Stand up for what is right but remember how you were drawn to the Lord. You weren’t drawn by someone’s hate and judgment. The Holy Spirit convicted you of your sin. He drew you to Himself. Hopefully God’s people loved you to Him. Maybe they corrected you, but hopefully you knew that they loved you and did it with gentleness. Make no mistake; you are going to be misunderstood by the world no matter what you do. But before you hammer someone about their “one sin” you might want to get rid of the 666 other sins that you practice. 666? Really? Why did it have be 666? I might need to find another web source….

Something to think about,

Pastor Scott


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