Archive for Jesus Christ

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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What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Country, Digital, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Lent, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church, The Law with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality
I used to talk a lot of junk and carry a pretty big Bible. It was a parallel Bible incorporating the KJV, Amplified, NAS, and NIV into one thick 3,000 plus page Bible. I stopped using mine because the print was so small, or I was getting so old I couldn’t see the print (toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe); that plus I had used it so much the pages were falling out. After getting reading glasses I began using my wife’s parallel Bible for my morning study time. As I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapter 5 I can came across some notes she had written in her Bible. They were likely 7 to 10 years old but they speak volumes about what we are seeing in the world today. I have reprinted them here, with my insights after each one. However, they are likely from a Bible study or a sermon she heard preached somewhere so I cannot take credit for them. The title she had over the notes: Dangers of Cultural Morality…
1. Not our commission-we have not been mandated by God. The we being Christ followers and although true some Christ followers have embraced cultural morality more than the Gospel.
2. Wastes precious mounts of resources – is a distraction by the enemy, Eph 5:16. If we are Christ followers then we should devote all resources (time, talent, & treasures) to doing what Christ has called us to do: share & show the love of Christ, invite people to be recipients of Christ’s love.
3. If you don’t change the heart you will redirect the sin. Only God can change a person’s heart. Anything else is merely a bandaid on an eternal wound: sin.
4. Fails to understand the kingdom of God, John 18:36. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, without the Spirit of God one cannot understand the things of God. Cultural morality moves people away from understanding God’s overwhelming love for humanity.
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Lenten Lessons

Posted in Christian, Community, Devotion, Faith, Global, God, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Lent, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, Resurrection, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

Although I do not participate in Ash Wednesday, as many did this past week, I do acknowledge the purpose of Lent.  In the 4th century the early Church believers wanted to dedicate a time leading up to Resurrection Sunday to focusing on what Jesus Christ did for us by giving His life so that we might have life.  They decided to start that time of focus 40 days before Resurrection Sunday since Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days before jump starting His ministry.

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I get the people that give up things for Lent as a way of fasting and focusing on God’s love, goodness, and grace.  What I don’t get are people who just go through the motions.  I have talked to people who gave up meat for Lent and when I ask them why they literally just say “Because we are supposed to…aren’t we?”  Why would you engage in a 40 day long practice without knowing what you are doing or why you are doing it?  I’m not trying to judge, ridicule, or criticize anyone but here are a few suggestions,  #IMHO, to get the most out of Lent.

  1. DON’T give up anything for Lent if you don’t know why you are doing it.  That isn’t called fasting, it’s foolishness.
  2. DON’T give up anything for Lent without spending time that would normally be used engaging in what you are fasting from drawing closer to Christ by reflecting on what He gave up for you.
  1. DON’T spend the 40 days of Lent griping and moaning about what you gave up. That just shows you don’t really understand what’s going on.
  2. DO celebrate and rejoice in the fact that whatever you gave up pales in comparison to what Jesus Christ gave up for you and that He loves you with a never ending love. Rejoice in that for eternity.

Blessings in a Bottle

Posted in Apps, Bible, Christian, Devotion, Digital, Electronics, Faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Prayer, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

At the beginning of every year people are always trying to list out new things to try and do for the coming year.  I don’t do resolutions but I do try to implement things into my life that will make it better and make me a better person.  This year I saw a post regarding a jar of blessings.  It may have been around for a while but this is the 1st year I took notice of it.

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The idea is to take a jar and fill it with little notes about blessings that take place in your life; little things that happen throughout the day and big things that occur on certain days.  Well, since one of my wife’s motto’s is “Let’s not put things on display, they add to clutter.” I decided that instead of a jar of blessings I would keep an online notebook.  This way I have access to it no matter where I am and no matter which device is nearby.  I can also look at the blessings that occurred within a given week, month, or other specified time frame.

To date, I’ve filled it with some funny stuff, some light hearted stuff, tiny things about people I’ve met and other things God has blessed me with; some pretty huge.

If there was an app that would let me tweet these things out that would be even better; if anyone knows of one let me know.  Until then I will just have to keep blowing up my notebook because God is blessing my pants off.

How about you?  Anything special God is doing in your life?  And when He does do something do you share it with others?

We Can Still Give Thanks…

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Culture, Evangelism, Faith, Global, God, Government, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

In a week that should be capitalized with a time of giving thanks and praise to God for His blessings we as a nation are again divided over human hurts.  If nothing else, the events of this week in our nation  confirm how much this nation and this world needs the peace that only Jesus Christ can bring.  We need that peace so we are not fearful of people because of their race, or what clothes they wear, or what position of authority they hold. We need that peace so that hate is no longer one of the most powerful weapons on the planet.  We need that peace because it reveals the truth that every single life is precious to God and should be precious to His people.

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Now more than ever we, who are the Church, should pray for a spiritual awakening  across the nation: that the Gospel would be communicated across the full spectrum of American society and that people of all ages, races, backgrounds regardless of political affiliation or economic situation would be drawn to Jesus Christ and receive His life, His salvation, and His peace…and we should give thanks that we live in a nation that allows us to do so freely #givethanks

Talk This Way…

Posted in Bible, Church, Devotion, Digital, Faith, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Life, Prayer, Real Talk with tags , , , , , , on November 20, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

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I’m not a talker.  I don’t like talking in front of people I don’t know (I know…kind of clashes with what I’m doing with my life), and although I know Him, I do find it difficult talking to God.  Some people are outgoing and social and can talk to everyone including God as easy as walking.  Others like me find it difficult holding a conversation especially with the Creator of the universe.  How do you start a conversation with the one who designed communication?  Somehow “S’up God” doesn’t seem to cut it. 

But believe it or not it does.  God looks forward to, and tells us in His word, that He longs to hear from us.  And like a parent who receives just the one word text on occasion, or who only hears from a child when tagged in their funny picture or post, God cherishes that and every moment we take to communicate with Him.  So if it has been days, weeks, years, or even if you just spoke with Him yesterday, take a moment and talk with God today.  – “Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” – John Bunyan.

Law and Order

Posted in Bible, Christian, Culture, Digital, Faith, God, Jesus Christ, New Testament, Old Testament, The Church, The Law, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

I find it amazing how many people try to discount the Old Testament even though it is the foundation for our faith in the New Testament.  The most alarming thing is when people try to discount the Law that God revealed to the Israelites.

In the book of Exodus from chapter 20 on God is revealing Himself to the people of Israel who have been living in a land devotedLawandorder01 to worship of idols and living there as slaves.  God begins to teach former slaves how to interact with Him, with each other, and with foreigners who don’t know Him or them.  To accomplish this God introduces the Law.  In the same way we educate our children today, God begins educating the Israelites.  God reveals several aspects of the law:

– The Ceremonial portions of the Law: These are the feasts and celebrations that point to Jesus Christ and are now fulfilled in Him.  They are all about worshipping God and living in His presence.  These laws are eternal, not bound by time.  Jesus did not do away with these laws, He fulfilled them.

-The Moral portions of the Law are grounded in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  They reveal the nature and will of God for His people and all of humanity.  They stress how we interact with each other (those of similar belief), others, and even our enemies.  These laws are the epitome of what is good and right and still apply today and exist for all time.  For example, since the beginning of time and until the end of time murder will always be considered wrong.

– The Civil/Cultural portions of the Law were instructions on how to live with each other, with others, and with God in that particular day.  Although some were based on solid morals and can be applied today others were only applicable for that particular time and season (with the introduction of indoor plumbing it is no longer required to build latrines away from where one lives…still a great idea for camping though).  The consequences for failing to fulfill these portions of the law were also for a particular time and season.  To put this in perspective think of keeping a child safe.  You tell your child to look both ways before crossing the street.  If you see them dart out into the street and you don’t see them look both ways you may reprimand or punish them.  If this occurs with your teenager or young adult, although the same desire to keep them safe applies,  you may be less likely to reprimand or punish them as you might deem them to be more aware of their surroundings.

One of the best examples of this is seen in the latter part of Exodus 23: 19.  Many people use this verse to claim how irrelevant or invalid the Old Testament is to the Church today.  However, God has a very valid reason for advising the people of Israel not to cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.  The Egyptians did this and then used the broth to sprinkle on their gardens and fields as a magic potion they hoped would bring a good harvest.  However, most of chapter 23 is God telling the people of Israel that He would provide a bountiful harvest for them.  So although God is saying don’t cook a goat in its mothers milk, He is telling the Isralites then and us today, don’t depend upon false tricks or magic for your resources.  He is able to provide all we need.  Although the civil law does not apply today, the moral principle upon which it is based, God is able to provide for His people, is still applicable today.

As you read through the Old Testament don’t just write off things that don’t seem to make sense in today’s culture.  Pull out a commentary (or bring up the app) and read the why and how of each thing.  Also ask your pastor about it or even start a Bible study around a list of questions you and others have.  God’s desire is not to confuse or mislead us, but to provide substantial written documentation that reveals His timeless love for us.

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