Archive for Christ follower

National Day of Prayer

Posted in Apps, Atheist, Bible, Celebration, Christian, Church, Community, Country, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Election, Faith, Family, God, Government, HIstory, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

NDPThis year I am torn more than ever regarding the National Day of Prayer.  I know it is a huge nationwide event that brings out people and congregations in droves to events all over the nation.  I strongly encourage people and congregations to gather publically and pray for their friends, their families, their communities, and our nation and its leaders.  However, isn’t that what the body of Christ is supposed to do anyway?  And do it daily?

I am torn because some view the National Day of Prayer as the only day to engage in prayer.  Prayer is one of the most valuable assets that the body of Christ has today.  If that is true then shouldn’t the body of Christ be gathering together, even across denominational lines, to pray for people, communities, and our nation…regularly?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for praying together and in public.  I  am just all for it more than just one day a year.  Why aren’t there monthly or quarterly prayer events going on across our nation on a regular basis?  Why is it usually when tragedy strikes that we see a call to prayer?  Why does it have to take a Tsunami, an earthquake, or a questionable action by a civil servant, or a city in mourning to bring the body of Christ together to pray?  I am not trying to be cynical, but perhaps if we held more prayer events than protests or more prayer events other than to pray against a politician all of our cities and our nation would be in better place.

As I write this, yes, I am trying and have tried to coordinate cross-denominational prayer events for the National Day of Prayer (for those who are wondering if I practice what I preach, lol).  And yes, I am aware that multiple congregations are already engaged in doing regular prayer events with their congregations and with other congregations across denominational lines.  But God help us, literally, if we ever get to a point where we feel like we are praying too much.  This year we are trying to add the following to our local prayer events and if possible perhaps you and your congregation can do the same if it is not being done already:

-Quarterly or regularly scheduled cross denominational pray events

-Public prayer events and prayer walks

That being said, what are you praying for and who will you be praying with for the National Day of Prayer on Thursday May 7th of this year?

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Posted in Bible, Christian, Community, Family, Global, Government, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Prayer, Spiritual, Taboo Topics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by BigPhatPastor

This is a post that a Facebook friend, Kristen J., put on her page today; she admits she stole it from her husband.  It really reflects that heart of what many Christians are feeling these days.  Our local worship community is in the midst of a summer long series entitled The Prayer Experiment.  We are not only engaging in prayer corporately but challenging each other to truly take our prayer life out of the closet and into our daily lives.  Here is Kristen’s un-edited post:

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, but I’m not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don’t agree with Darwin , but I didn’t go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution. Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what’s the big deal? It’s not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They’re just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game. But it’s a Christian prayer, some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America and Canada, countries founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect –somebody chanting Hare Krishna? If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. If I went to a ping pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha. And I wouldn’t be offended. It wouldn’t bother me one bit. When in Rome…

But what about the atheists? Is another argument. What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We’re not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that’s asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of ear plugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer!!! Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don’t think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world’s foundations. Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. God, help us.

And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me. The silent majority has been silent too long. It’s time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn’t care what they want. It is time that the majority rules! It’s time we tell them, “You don’t have to pray; you don’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don’t have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN!” God bless us one and all… Especially those who denounce Him, God bless America and Canada, despite all our faults. We are still the greatest nations of all. God bless our service men and women who are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God. Let’s make 2011 the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars. Keep looking up…

Deal or No Deal

Posted in Christian, Devotion, Family, God, Life, worship with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by BigPhatPastor

Although yesterday was a voting day for the primaries for many locations I’m actually going to hit on another topic today.  With only 34% of the registered voters showing up to vote at the location where I was at, I am guessing that no one will complain too much if I focus on something other than politics.

We just completed a teaching series called Deal or No Deal that looked at answering three basic questions for Christians and non-Christians so each could walk away with the same understanding of:

  • What is Tithing?
  • Where Does the Money Go?
  • Why Should I Do it?

Considering the current economy and difficulty in obtaining jobs a lot of people expected to hear pitches asking people to give more money to the church, to charities, and/or to local organizations.  But this was not a pitch.  The goal was to simply answer the three questions above.

To the first question the answer is simple.  Tithing is giving to God 10% of what He blesses you with.  The expectation is that we would give freely out of the joy of having something to give.  The joy comes not from the amount, but from acknowledging that God has blessed us, period.  Tithing is also private and intimate.  I believe that tithing is one of the most spiritually intimate things we can do.  When we give our bodies, which we value above all else, to another it is as an act of physical intimacy.  When we give our money, on which we place an extremely high value, especially in a bad economy, it is as an act of spiritual intimacy.  For that reason, I strongly believe that non-Christians should not tithe.  Who would give their hard earned and cherished money away to strangers?  Likewise, if one does not know or have a relationship with God, why would or should they even try to tithe?  Also no one should tithe out of fear.  Giving money to anyone out of fear is basically being robbed.  God is not in the business of robbing people.

The answer to the second question may vary from local congregation to local congregation but is generally the same regardless of denomination.  Tithes that are received are generally used for the following purposes (although these are not the only purposes):

1) To support the people who are doing the ministry; this pays the salaries of the pastors, team leaders, and other ministry workers which may vary in each and every church.  In most cases a board, or group of other personnel within the church or denomination will determine which positions constitute a salary.  At CrossRoads we follow a principle I picked up from a previous pastor:  If we ask someone to volunteer or do so much work on behalf of our local congregation that it interferes with their ability to earn a living then we have to consider paying a stipend, part time, or full time salary.  The key is that we are asking them to make this contribution.  There are many people have the time and resources to volunteer on a greater level than others.  2) To support the place of ministry; every building where a local celebration is held, school, coffee house, or whatever venue in which your congregation meets may require a mortgage, lease, rent, or even utilities be paid.  If not, praise God, if it does, that is where the money will do.  3) The third place use of the tithe is to help those being ministered to by your congregation.   Most churches have a fund set up to help the needy or they use the funds to run various ministries that reach out to those in need.  At CrossRoads we do both.  In addition, we just sent a team to Tennessee to help with flood relief and the tithes of the congregation paid for almost everything.  We were so inspired to help that we came back and are taking up an additional collection, above and beyond the tithes of the congregation to use to help those impacted and displaced by the floods in Tennessee.

The answer to the third question of why should you tithe is multifaceted as well, and although biblically supported, many may still disagree…but nonetheless:

1)      The first reason why a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ who has a relationship with God, should tithe is BECAUSE GOD SAYS SO.  I know many people claim that tithing is an old testament concept and that is true.  God revealed the concept of tithing to His followers throughout the Old Testament.  However, nowhere in the New Testament does God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit repeal it.  Being the one who instituted it God is the only one who can repeal it; not those who don’t want to do it.  It is still a commandment from God to His followers.  In fact, Jesus took the entire concept of giving to an entirely new level.  He criticized the those who tithed religiously but without the relationship and gave His blessing to those who gave all they had regardless of the amount.

2)    The second reason to tithe is because tithing creates a culture of giving.  Giving is not about money.  It is about using financial, material, and human resources to meet the needs of others.  People who start tithing have less difficulty in giving other resources to meet needs.

3)    The third reason to tithe is because tithing reflects the character of God.  God is a giver.  God created the universe and all that is in it for us according to Genesis and the Psalms; God gave the Israelites the land to possess it; and Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many.  When we tithe we open the doorway to being givers and when we give we reflect the character of God.

So regardless of your denominational, political, or financial status…if you are a follower of Jesus Christ spend some time with God asking Him to reveal what He would have you do regarding tithing.

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