Monthly Archives: November 2008

The Price of Oil is Not Immune From Prayer

I love the price of gas right now and I am so excited about where it is headed.  I know our economy is taking a tremendous hit, but at least this is one good thing coming out of it.


Last summer, God challenged me to get our church to go public and pray for the gas prices to come down.  I told them what God had shared with me and many said let’s go.  So we came to church on that Wednesday night that we had intended to go out.  We all circled up, prayed and then left the church to go to the local WA WA down the street.


Now like David had about 1/3 of his men who didn’t want to go and fight and they just hung out around the river bed, I had some good people in my church who were not willing to go and put themselves in public and allow others to see them pray.


I admitted to my congregation that it wasn’t easy for me.  So that made a lot of them feel better and we pressed on.   Earlier that day, I had faxed a press release to the local TV station and told them of our intentions.  I really hoped they would be there and sure enough they were there when we arrived.  I went into the gas station and told the manager what we were doing and they said to go for it.


We went to the road side on the county’s right of way property in front of the WA WA sign.  I had the people to line up side by side and hold hands and begin to pray and anyone who wanted to pray and lead the people in prayer to go ahead and do so.  Many did.


We had some holding signs up that read; “We’re Praying for Our Gas Prices To Go Down!”  Many cars passed blowing their horns and some yelling, “Amen!” and “Praise the Lord.”  We prayed for about 30 minutes.  After we finished the TV people interviewed me and I told them we were praying for 3 reasons; That the OPEC ministers would change their mind about oil production and increase it, that greedy CEO’s of the major oil companies would begin turning back their profits into helping the prices and that the congress would begin to allow drilling offshore.


After we finished one church member said they believed we needed to do it 6 more times for a total of 7 times.  So, we did.  7 weeks of standing in the hot sun praying.  At one station, one assistant manager said, “You’re wasting your time; the prices are not going down.”  He was also the one that called the police on us.  The police said we were not doing anything wrong and one of them said he was behind us.


Prayer is effective and can do so many things. We’ve seen our gas prices go from over 4.00 a gallon to less than 1.75 a gallon in less than 6 months. 



God is powerful.  He hears his people even in the midst of a terrible economy.  Keep encouraged.  Keep praying. Don’t ever let someone tell you that it’s a waste of time to pray.


Even the gas pumps bow their knees to God.


That’s what I think about.




(fill ‘er up please)


Have We Lost Our Moral Minds?

I went to the movie theater to watch a flick recently and the older gentleman that I purchased the tickets from began to share with me about workers who drive up in their company vehicles during the day and take time to watch a 2 hour movie.  Now I had to assume the worst.


Why would someone want to, on company time, watch a movie during the day?  Because they don’t want to work, that’s why!  Can you believe that?


I hear you say, yes I can believe it.  I wouldn’t put anything past anyone anymore.


My family tells me that I’m such a trusting person.  I probably am.  I trust people.  I think the best of people.  I feel that is a good trait and one that a pastor needs.


I went to a meeting once with the chairman of my trustee committee and once the meeting was over, he got in the car and said, “Did you see that he lied to you about five times?”  I looked at him in amazement.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  No, my friend said, and he pointed out the things he lied about.  The sad fact of the matter was that we were talking to a church official.


People are deceiving themselves when they do wrong, know they do wrong and don’t do one thing about it.  Everyone around them, their family, their friends and their acquaintances know it but the ones doing wrong don’t seem to see the harm in it.  No blood no foul.


We have people becoming way too comfortable in our churches with their questionable lifestyles.  By we, I mean the people within the church.  Pastors are accommodating people on their church boards who condone the lifestyles of people living together without a marriage license or other such things. 


My friend, Pastor McKissic, said one of the most profound things to us recently.  He said we respect fish, game and driving more than we do our women or our men.  Why, because we will live with them exclusive of purchasing a license (a marriage license).


I shutter to think of the under the table evil that goes on in Christians homes today.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised.  The Bible says that the heart of man is evil.  We justify ourselves by saying we’re just human and we’re bound to do wrong.  To me, that’s taking advantage of the Grace of God.  That’s abusing His goodness toward us. 


If God is so merciful, then we need to be appreciative of it by taking some responsibility for our own lives and the way we live them. 


Hey, I believe God calls us to be merciful not judgmental. However, I do believe that guilt in the lives of those who do wrong impedes a life of joy and freedom.  When one does wrong, guilt fills the heart where God wants peace.  Quietness and contentment cannot enter a heart where deceit, secrets and self-gratification reside. 


That’s what I think about it.



Please, Don’t Start That Again!

Only two days away from Thanksgiving and that’s really when the commercialized season of Christmas begins.


However, let me request of the merchants – please don’t start that same stuff of “Happy Holidays” or Seasons Greetings again.  Please.


I’m a firm believer that if we’re going to call it Christmas than let’s say, Merry Christmas.  Is that so hard?  I said sort of tongue in cheek last year that since it is a blessed season based on the birth of Jesus Christ that those who chose not to recognize his birth ought not to have the privilege of having a Christmas.  Seems only fair to me.  However, Jesus wouldn’t want it that way would he?


No, Jesus came for people like that who want to be politically correct instead of being truthfully honest about the season. I don’t need to be too overprotective of his birthday, now do I.


Now I really don’t like clichés and whoever coined the phrase, “Jesus is the reason for the season” must have finished off a slice of minced meat pie. It’s not a bad cliché but seriously does in a nutshell say what the purpose of the season is for.


I love the Christmas season.  I grew up in a town called McAdenville, NC.  You ought to Google it and read about it.  It was called Christmas Town, USA.  Mr. William Pharr who owned the town and the textile mill in it, encourage all the towns’ people to decorate and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.  He would even pay for the electric bills for everybody in the month of November and December.  He was serious about the season.  Do you think he would say, Happy Holidays?  I don’t think so.  He realized the birth of the Savior is why we celebrate.


Now I know there will be those who theologically say that Christmas isn’t really the birth of our Savior and I know that.  But you know what?  We should celebrate it anyway and December is just a good as time as any.  In fact I like it better because it’s cold and the possibility of snow is always there.  (I celebrated Christmas in Florida one time and it just didn’t seem right)


So, let’s make sure everybody goes with the flow, gets in the groove and say the proper thing of Merry Christmas.  Not happy Holidays


That’s what I think about it!




Relationships; Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Can I just say, “I love the Lord” (slight pause) “not just because I’m a pastor, but because I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, probably like you may have with your brother or your sister, or your best friend?


Let me ask you, are there people out there in Christ’s church who feel a call to disciple the younger generation, the older generation, heck, everybody? Is it a question of mission? Because mission as I understand it isn’t primarily about attraction, it’s about finding, seeking, and discipling.


The thing is, most Christians, regardless of the wonderful motivation behind it, want a program or solution to bring people into their existing church structure.

Well, I think I’ve happened on the solution to attracting people as I was musing on this.

Get out of the church.

That’s right leave.

Because you see, the church isn’t that building no matter how cute, historic, grand, beautiful, or whatever it may be. The building is an incidental. You are the church.

So go out and start taking the church—and the fantastic message of life in Jesus—to people you know.

Just live life in relationship with people, not from your church (gasp, I know).

Live life in relationship with people with no agenda. Share with them what excites you, hopefully Jesus is on the list, if not, perhaps you should start by doing a little soul searching and having a few in depth Jesus-times yourself.

As you share your life with people, including how you live in relationship with Jesus, they might get interested. Or they might not. But at least they won’t be in the very large category of people that don’t know a single Christian.


You need to develop relationships with those in the faith,  especially with the Master.  Without it, we cannot be the person we were created to be; first to Him and then to others.



That’s what I think about it.



Can We REALLY trust God?


Our nation has a slogan; In God We Trust.  Really?  What does that mean?  How does our nation prove it?  How do make reality of such a collection of four words.


There’s another one; God Bless America. (I still hear Ethel Merman belting it out!)  Now exactly what does that mean?  Does one (in God we trust) have anything to do with the other (God bless America)?


If you go to the local church and ask this question, “Can we really trust God?” I not sure you’ll get the answer you’re looking for.  Now if you ask the question to the local church, “Does God bless?”  I’m sure you’ll get a resounding, yes. 


Why does God bless if He has a questionable reputation for consistency, trustworthiness and character?  By the actions of some, you would think He is not to be taken at His word.


You see, we all love the blessings of God, but when He asks us to prove His character of trustworthiness, some seem to balk and others believe it.


For instance, the Bible says, “God loves a cheerful giver.”  You would think that it says, “God loves a ‘fearful’ giver.  People seem to be this way based on their giving record of contribution to God through the church.  Our nation plays itself out in the local church.  We have become a nation of deserved entitlements and the same goes for the church.  We want the entitlements of God but we don’t want to have to sacrifice more than necessary to receive it.


God asks of His people, no one else, to give ten percent of their income.  Some people are too nervous to do such.  They might make $50,000.00 gross or net and only give about 2-3% of that a year.  They might be strong in other areas such as faithfulness to attendance, giving of their talents during the time they are at church or bringing others to church.  But when it comes to complete trust and obedience of God and His word, they just can’t seem to bring themselves to giving, in this case, at least $5,000.00 a year or possibly a little lower than $100.00 a week.


Now if these same people get sick, have to go to the hospital or whatever, they are the first to call on God for entitlements.  Now God is so great and gracious that He will continue to bless and heal.  But let’s be honest, doesn’t that seem to be taking advantage of His grace and goodness? 


Yes, God can be trusted.  You can take God at His Word.  Ask some of those who have given for years if he can be reliable to what He says.  Go ahead, ask.  It won’t hurt you.  Or maybe you already know the answer and you’re just plan selfish.  But that’s another topic to discuss.


That’s what I think about it.



(Hey, need a calculator?)

Sex; The Gift That Keeps On Giving


Sometimes it is viewed as a hot potato in the church; or at least Tony Campolo thought so on certain topics contained their in.


Sex – a universal commodity.  Interestingly enough it’s not part of the NASDAQ or on the S & P 500.  Why not?  Surely if you talk to enough people their stock in this is either very high, extremely low, on a bearish run, some bullish and even others have been bankrupt by it. 


There are some who yell, “Sell! Sell! Sell!”  Of course prostitution is the oldest profession around and surely they would watch the markets.  Then there are others who would say, “Buy! Buy! Buy!”   These would be your investors like depressed husbands, cheating wives or curious single men and women just looking to purchase the penny stocks or junk bonds.


There would be those who are living in a depression right now, or so they would tell you.  Some are living in a recession, while some are living on dividends and enjoying life in their partner in marriage (or so they would make you think.)


Men and women have gone to prison because of it; perverting the very sanctity of its purpose.  Unwanted babies have been born as a result of two people who thought they recognized love as a diamond in their life only to discover after the baby was born that it was a glass rock in that ring.  Some have, even after a bout of unfettered passion, decided that this product of their wild night or nights needed to be destroyed and swept under the rug of abortion; hoping that no one discovered their secret act.


Marriages have been ruined by one or the other spouse using it as a weapon and denying the other partner their marriage rights. Others have had to leave home and find the lost commodity elsewhere; because theirs were no where to be found.  Many time the results would end in scarred hearts of hurt, emotionally damaged children or sometimes murder at the hands of the wounded.


Wow, sex, the gift that keeps on giving.  True. To some it gives disease, to some broken hearts, to others a long lasting, satisfying relationship, to some prison time and sadly to many, death.


God’s originally intentions were to be beautiful and glorious times of love between a husband and a wife.  In our era there are still those who have caused the market to soar because of the value of it in their lives.  However, there are those who have cheapened it so much that it is not worth anything.


Interestingly enough, many suffer from a lack of it in their lives.  However, it is so secretive and so personal that you don’t hear anyone giving a prayer request for it in the Wednesday night prayer service or the prayer list in the bulletin.  But you know, it’s something that we need to consider maybe to keep marriages together, prevent spouses from cheating and possibly teenage pregnancies or other disasters; abortion.

I’m glad it’s a gift from God.  Enjoy it often in your marriage.  Celebrate the gift of love from God.  It’s not a weapon; it’s a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving. 


That’s what I think about it.



Can I Have My Cake and Eat It Too?

My daughter had a special cake (not the one in the picture, gross) delivered (ordered by her great husband) to her over the weekend.  It was from a nationally known cake decorator.   She was so excited to see the people who are on TV and that they were the ones who brought it and not only was she able to meet them and see the cake, but eat it too! 

I started thinking about our ability to receive Jesus as our personal saviour and still be able to keep our same lifestyles, attire and attitudes.  I thought is it possible? Can I receive Him and still be able to have my fun and keep my former way of living?  Is this permissible? Do people really do this?

I was listening to the local radio and heard an advertisement of a church that I know of that is really growing.  I know the main reason for it is that you don’t have to change a thing about yourself except just say you’ve accepted Jesus.  You can look, act and be just as grungy as you’ve always been.  Wow.

When the demoniac of Gadara was touched by Jesus, the Bible says he put on clothes and was in the right frame of mind, sitting at Jesus feet and learning.  All through the new testament, peoples lives are changed; inside and out.  Everything changes about them.  People give testamony about it

There comes a major transformation in a persons’ life from the touch of Jesus that changes everything about us.  Our spirit, soul and body begins a change that is amazing.  You don’t want to hang out anymore with the same people, you don’t want to look the same, you don’t want to smell the same and you don’t want to do the same things you use to do.  You only want to do what God wants you to do with and in your life.  When you are changed on the inside, you want to change the outside. (Can I get a witness?)

Sure, it would be great to know that all I had to do was say I believe in Jesus and continue looking, smelling and acting the same way I was before salvation.  However, a true salvation experience radically changes a man, woman, boy or girl.

No wonder some churches grow on purpose.  Hey come to our church and you can stay in your old perverted, radical and rebellious way.  Here you can have your cake and eat it too!  (cue the circus music)

I don’t think so.

That’s what I think about it!


(You’ve got a little icing on the corner of your mouth…here’s a napkin)