Tag Archives: Priorities

Doubting Christians

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I struggle with our struggle to embrace the super-natural.

Mankind always seeks to understand and explain that which cannot always be explained.  From the beginning, with Adam and Eve, the temptation was understanding.  The serpents tempting words to Eve in Genesis 3:5:  “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Science tries to make human sense of creation.  Medicine tries to make medical sense of miracles.  There are times when the only thing that makes sense is Jesus!

The problem with the church today is we struggle to understand and embrace that God performs miracles!  And that God’s desire is to use us to perform miracles!  There is a true shortage of the use of spiritual gifts active in the church.  Why?  I believe the reason is we fear being ‘super-spiritual’ and the ‘weirdness’ of it, and where it will ‘take us’.

We must understand God’s purpose for the church though!

Acts 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 2:17   And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Mark 16:17-18  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not stating we are to tempt God with foolish actions!  But we can be directed, spoken to by, and used by God!  If we aren’t, then are we truly Christians?  If we aren’t being obedient to the commission given us, then we can’t claim to be followers.

We can’t forget about spiritual gifts?  1 Corinthians 8-10  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

We are His church, and He places in us gifts and abilities to be His hands and feet on earth!  When we fail to believe in and utilize those gifts, we can’t claim full obedience to Him.

What brings about this struggle?  I believe a lack of faith!  Faith is put to the test through action.  Think about it…we encounter a lame man…we offer charity, we offer love, we offer prayer…but look at Peter and John and the lame man:  Acts 3:6  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

What prevents the church from performing in such a bold manner today?  Remember, Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  

What is our excuse?  Don’t be like Doubting Thomas.  Don’t doubt God’s ability to come through at the right time.  Exercise the Holy Ghost power we behold!

As a camp preacher declared a few years back…when the devil thinks he has me out on a limb…all I can say is…that’s where the fruit goes!  Go out on a limb…exercise faith…believe in the impossible!  The church of yesterday can still live today!

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Happy New Years

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Today marked the first day of 2015.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I considered writing earlier, but decided against it.

Today has been a slightly ‘unusual’ day, if that makes sense.  I’ve been in a kind of nostalgic mood for part of the day.  My parents are heading off on a Caribbean cruise, which leaves me slightly jealous.  I was looking through some old pictures of friends, and missing people.  But then I began to think on my day!

The family slept in this morning, after a late night yesterday with church friends.  After church we all stayed and had pizza and ice cream.  Then a group of us stayed and brought in the New Year playing games and having a good time of fellowship.  Today, the family lounged in pajamas most of the day, and had frozen pizza for a late lunch.  This evening, I made cookies, and then Amber and I and the kids played games on the living room floor and ate cookies.  This evening we went out for a late dinner at Chinese Palace (the only place open late) and enjoyed visiting as a family.

To bring a point to these ramblings…

#1 – Focus on what you HAVE, not what you feel is missing!

It is easy to think about what you wish you were doing, or those who you don’t see every day.  But when you begin to think about what you have, you realize how truly you are blessed!  I have a warm home and food on the table!  I have a great church and a great church family!  We gather together and have some of the best services one can imagine!

As the old song says:

My God’s been good to me
He’s been so good to me
More than this world could be
He’s so good to me
He dried all my tears away
Turned my midnights into day
So I’ll just say thank you Lord
And I won’t complain

#2 – Appreciate your family!

God has truly blessed me!  He gave me a wife that puts up with WAY MORE than anyone will ever know!  If I am truly honest with myself, I would probably never put up with what she puts up with!  (I’ll deny I said that though!)  She loves me unconditionally, she supports me even when I make crazy decisions, she encourages me every step of the way.  When I get up and preach an awful message and make a fool of myself, she still thinks I’m general conference material!

We have three wonderful, smart, funny children who love their mom and dad, and love God.  They think we are perfect, they love spending time with their parents, and they have sacrificed so we can be where we are, doing what we do!

Spending New Years Day with my family…I can’t think of a better way to spend it!

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Life is but a vapor…

vapor

James 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

I recently saw a video on YouTube portraying the days in our lives using jellybeans.  I would recommend watching it here.

I spoke a few weeks ago on this subject.  The typical life expectancy is the USA is 76.  When you compare the years that you have on earth with an eternity, we are here for an extremely short time!  In that time, you are born dependent on others, and you spend your childhood and teenage years preparing for life.  But you eventually reach that age where you begin to have an impact on others.  That brings us to the point…what will you do with that time?

We put time and energy into doing something…we need to make sure that time and energy is being used for something worthwhile, and that we are giving it our best effort!  Our impact can last an eternity!

For example, my grandfathers on both sides were preachers.  They raised their children in the church, and passed on an Apostolic heritage.  In turn, my parents took the values and lessons learned by their parents, and instilled a love for Christ and a passion for ministry into the lives of both my brother and I.  Now my wife and I are trying to raise our children to have a love for Jesus Christ, a love for the church, and a love for ministry!  This is the effect of Grampy and Grammy Kline, and Grandpa and Grandma Puckett, alive and well all these years later!

This goes beyond family though!  Many years ago, when my great-grandmother was a child, her mother took her to stay with a family in Indianapolis, IN.  This family attended an Apostolic church.  They took my great-great-grandmother and her children to church with them, where they were baptized by the Rev. GT Haywood.  The ministry, and life of GT Haywood, all these years later, is still affecting our family across this nation.

So the question again remains, what will you do with your time?

Will you work hard at a job, to build up a bank account, that really will not last very long and be forgotten?

Will you try to be popular, and have a large group of so-called-friends, that will probably abandon you when something better comes along?

Will you try to have the nicest house, most expensive car, and best manicured lawn?

Or will you reach out to someone, and share with them God’s love?  Will you train up your children to serve the Lord?  Will you get involved in your church and do everything you can to help your church fulfill the great commission?

As the song says, ‘Only one life, so soon it will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last!’

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Social Media Etiquette

Social-Media

Social media…there are SO many options!  Which ones do I join…which ones do I avoid…what works better for friendships versus business ventures…how can I post do multiple venues with one posting…it can all be QUITE overwhelming!  Then there is the debate among some, is it acceptable for me, as an apostolic, to join social media?  Of course with social media, there is an open door to a rapid relay of information, and the opportunity for gossip to travel at the speed of light.  I, personally, have found that regardless of the type of social media, the opportunity is still there to relay information as one would like.  Regardless of the social media ones may join, there has to be some core principles applied to the use of it!  When in an online community, you must have the same principles that you would in your regular community!  Below are some of my thoughts on the usage of social media:

Watch what you say!  For some reason, people get online and completely remove any filters!  They feel an openness to say whatever they want, to anyone they want, about whatever they want!  They reveal personal emotions, hurt feelings, slander others, make side comments about others, and such…

If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online.

If there is a possibility of a comment being taken wrong, don’t say it online.  Make it a face-to-face conversation.  People can read your message, and apply whatever tone they want to the message, and take it out of context.

If you disagree with someone’s post, don’t start a fight online.  We are all welcome to our personal opinions, and chances are, you have NO possibility of changing their opinion on a social media site.

Be careful who your friends are!  I would not sit around and listen to someone using foul language in real life.  I would not sit around and listen to someone with a lack of morals telling their racy stories in real life.  There are some people who have such a foul spirit about them, that I would not associate with them in real life, as I don’t want that spirit rubbing off on me.  There are some people in real life who like to take your truth and twist it and began to spread lies about you, that I wouldn’t talk to them in real life for fear of the repercussions.  Then why would I want to associate with them online, and allow them personal access to my information?  Be careful who you associate with.

Be careful what you share!  Be careful what information you put out on the world wide web…remember…regardless of your privacy settings, it is still the WORLD WIDE web!  And it’s there to stay…FOREVER…regardless of if you delete it, or close your account!  On a server somewhere…or perhaps floating somewhere in the clouds….is still whatever information you typed…waiting to get into the wrong hands!  Some private stuff should stay just that…private!  But we get in a room by ourselves, and feel like it’s ok to post pictures or make statements, that later on we might regret.

Remember, you talking to everyone!  You know what I mean, we have conversations sometimes with friends, and then other conversations with our boss, and other conversations at church.  Guess what…that post online…became a conversation with ALL of the above!  As a matter of fact, it was a conversation with a potential future employer, a potential future friend…anyone who ever looks you up online, gets to see that post!  If you wouldn’t broadcast it from the roof of your house with a megaphone, don’t say it online!

Really…we don’t need to see a new picture of you ever five minutes!  Sorry…can’t resist!  Selfies…every 30 seconds….not necessary!  We haven’t forgotten what you look like!  We don’t care that you can pucker your lips like a duck!  If you’ve forgotten what you look like, use a mirror, not social media!  Also, we don’t need to see every plate of food ever sat in front of you, (and yes, I do occasionally post my food) ever art project your children make, etc.  And PLEASE, PUH-LEEZE!!!!, stop sharing EVERY piece of Facebook chain-mail, news article, and such…I promise, you won’t get rich my sharing it, you won’t win a free phone by sharing it, none of the stores have free merchandise they can’t sell that they are waiting to give to the first 5,000 sharers, you won’t die for not sharing it, and luck has NOTHING to do with Facebook!

Be slightly selective in what you share…ALL your friends will appreciate it!

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Get Up On Your Soapbox

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Dictionary.com defines ‘soapbox’ as an improvised platform, as one on a street, from which a speaker delivers an informal speech or appeal.  The term ‘get off your soapbox’, or ‘they’re on their soapbox again’, has been long used for people who have a constant agenda to persuade others to their set of beliefs.

I was thinking earlier, that as Apostolics, we need to get up on our soapbox!  Those belonging to the world’s wide array of religions have always been on their soapboxes, trying to persuade other’s to join their ranks.  Those without religion have long been on their soapboxes trying to persuade other’s that there is no god, and that life is all about having fun and feeling good.  Anti-religious folks have no fear about getting ‘in our faces’ and trying to discredit us and God!

I believe that if there was ever a time for us to get on our soapbox, that time is now!  My soapbox needs to be truth!  My soapbox needs to the Word of God!  My soapbox needs to be the plan of salvation spelled out in the book of Acts!

Revelations 12:11 (KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

1 Corinthians 1:21  (KJV) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

There is only one way that we are going to overcome those that are reaching out with an anti-Apostolic message.  There is only one way we are going to reach the masses in our world.  And that is by getting on our soapbox, and sharing our testimony!

One thing that I have learned in life is that passion communicates!  If one is passionate about something, if they truly believe it, if they are completely sold out to it, that passion will come forth in their communication.  We need to get passionate about the truth, and get up on our soapbox, and share it with the world!

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Prioritizing God and Family

Family-Planning

I was recently asked to explain the hierarchy of priorities for parents / married couples.  Unfortunately, the world has skewed mankind’s priorities…some say children should be your first priority, others say your friends, or your boss…in almost all cases the world is placing spouses on the back burner, and God is not even a part of their equation!  We wonder why crime and morals have hit an all time low…and why the divorce rate is so high…because marriage is no longer a sacred institution and people have quit putting their trust in God!

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

We are to love God with ALL of us…every fiber of our being…with every breath that we take…with every ounce of energy we withhold!  That makes Him the first priority!  There should be no questions!

1 Corinthians 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

This scripture shows us God is at the top of the hierarchy, followed by man and woman.

If God is at the head, the loyalty is obviously first to him.  And if the husband is ‘head’ of the woman, her loyalty is second to him, after God!

In Genesis, for the first couple chapters, it was just God and Adam!

Woman did not come until later…making the relationship between God and mankind the first, and relationship between man and woman, the second relationship.  This also shows the significance of God first, spouse second!

Then comes the children…

A relationship between and man and woman comes before children…children are a result of that relationship, making the priority of children fall in line after the relationship with the spouse!

Ephesians 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

The spouse separates from their family and joins as husband and wife…they become as ONE flesh!

You do not become as one flesh with your children!  Therefore, once again, the relationship with your spouse comes before the relationship with your children!

Don’t get me wrong…you have an obligation to care for your children.  You are to provide emotional and material support for their well being.  You are to love your children.  I would go as far as to say you should be willing to lay your life down for your children.  BUT, don’t neglect your spouse, and definitely don’t neglect your relationship with Jesus Christ because you now have children!

God first, spouse second, children third, and the rest of the world can fall in line!

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