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Be a Person of (His) Vision

          Over the last three months I’ve had the opportunity to read two books about men driven by purpose.  The first, “Into the Wild” speaks of Chris McCandless who for years wandered the wilderness of the West and Northwest, and finally Alaska, chasing a freedom that cannot be found outside of Christ.  The second – “Lost City of Z” – tells of Percy Fawcett an early 20th century explorer, who chases after an unknown city in the jungles of the Amazon multiple times.  A city, that cannot be truly found on this Earth, because as believers we know that this is not our home! Both of these true accounts (Which I highly recommend reading) speak to the heart of a multitude of issues I believe we face as creatures of our beloved Creator. 

          Firstly, God has given us a powerful vision/pursuit designed for us and for His glory.  Percy and Chris were men of vision; men of purpose; men of a grandiose idea.  But their hearts had not been shaped by the redemptive power of the creator, and thus their purpose and vison was ever “just out of reach”. (Neither Percy Fawcett – who most surmise died in the jungle with his oldest son and his son’s closest friend – nor Chris who died in an abandoned bus in the wilderness of Alaska found what they were looking for).  Yet our God is not one who gives us vision and then tantalizing dangles it just out of reach.  He speaks it into the deepest part of our being and then consistently and constantly calls it out in us as we pursue Him and His design.  Which leads to my second observation.

          Both Percy and Chris heard a similar call, but instead of submitting to the authority of the Lord (as we as believers and followers do) they tried to chase after it in their own power.  You see, the vision God gives us is not our vision at all, but His, and we get to play a valuable role.  In so doing, we relinquish the rights to this vision and submit constantly and consistently (through faith and obedience – the book of James speaks on this) to His will.  Chris and Percy consistently sought to pursue everything in their own power.  Scripture is never more clear about how this will work out than in John 15:5 when Christ reminds us that without Him, we can do nothing!  There is no vision that God gives that is not designed, supported, and maintained without His provision!  We do not pursue in our own power, we simply submit and obey by faith. 

          Finally, let it be known.  My heart was stirred by the courageous, bold, and seemingly radical lives that Percy and Chris lived.  These aspects of their character are littered throughout God’s people in scripture.  In fact, I feel my heart was stirred to them because I read about them daily in scripture.  Except their names are not Chris and Percy, but Moses, and Joshua, David and Peter, Daniel and John, Paul and Stephen.  You see, God has stirred in our hearts all that we need for His vision/purpose/design for our lives. We can live bold and courageous lives because Christ has given us the freedom to do so (Read the book of Romans).  We can live bold and courageous lives because we serve a God who has already gone ahead of us (Read the Book of Joshua).  We can live bold and courageous because we are led by the Holy Spirit (Read the book of Acts).  There is nothing being withheld from us.  And unlike Percy Fawcett and Chris we can rest assured that our pursuit and submission to His vision will never, ever be in vain!

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If You're a "Hand", Be a "Hand"

           I was riding along this morning after dropping my daughters off at school, and Holy Spirit began to remind me of the beautiful passage in I Corinthians 12 that speaks on how the body of believers functions well.  I would encourage you to read the passage, but I felt my heart continually being stirred to the reminder that we as believers cannot function well together unless we are doing exactly what God has “gifted” us to do.

            You see, the ultimate purpose of the body of believers is to glorify the Father, and often times we think that everyone else has been gifted in more spiritual ways than what He has in us.  The truth of the matter is that there is no upper level or lower level management positions in the body of believers.  There are not some people who are more spirit filled and those that haven’t been filled as much.  In fact, the clarity what we have in Christ in only identified in the uniqueness of the gift, not the value of that gift. 

            That’s why Paul uses the physical body as an analogy for the spiritual body of believers.  When it comes to our physical body functioning at its optimum then feet must be feet, hands must be hands, eyes must be eyes, etc.  The body can still function without hands trying to be feet, or without hands at all, but it cannot function as well as when each individual part is doing exactly what God created it to do. 

            So as Holy Spirit reminded me this morning, I now remind you.  Be the hand that God created you to be, and let others be the foot God created them to be.  Finally, strive to work in unison so that the body of believers (which Christ paid such a high price for) glorifies God as fully as it can!

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Build Altars, not Idols

           There is some very clear evidence that we are “flesh-driven” people.  We live in a consumer culture, where we can have pretty much anything we want at any time (Wal-mart has taken care of that).  You want an example?  Just today I ordered a couple of books through Amazon.com and they will arrive later this afternoon!  The process took less than a minute. 

            I say this as a simple word of caution.  As I have read the Old Testament, particularly the story of Abraham, and the story of God’s people – Israel, the Word began to reveal to me that I need desperately to be a man who builds altars, not idols.  There are a couple obvious reasons for this.

            Number one, altars point to the Lord, idols point to self.  My flesh, the culture we live in, and the enemy have no problem saturating us with opportunities for idol worship.  “Do you not know you were bought with a price” Paul says, and every day I have to ask Holy Spirit to remind me that the freedom I’ve been given in Christ was costly for Him and I do not want to waste my days, hours, minutes, satisfying the flesh.  Nothing points me to my flesh/self quicker than idols.  (Side note: idols can literally be anything that draws our attention from God to self – if God designed it Satan wants to corrupt it.  A good example is God’s creation being worshipped over the creator at the close of Romans 1).

            Altars on the other hand are established for worship and direction.  They point us to the one who is our Creator and navigator.  They draw our attention back to what He has done and where He is leading.  I truly believe that Abraham established altars consistently because after being told that his descendants would number the stars and to walk to a land that would be his people’s inheritance he had no clue how this would play out, other than God would make it happen.  As such he constantly needed to be reminded of the One in whom he was praising and following.

            I don’t know about you, but every day I need to be reminded about who God is, what He has done, and where He is leading!  This takes discipline and intentionality at first, and eventually it will become habitual which will finally lead to a change in the spiritual atmosphere of your life/home.  (Side note – idols have to be discovered and torn down before altars can be established – a different message for a different time).  If you long for a life where God is worshipped and your direction is clear (through faith) start building altars, not idols.

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A Diverse Run

           Can I just say something?  I am so thankful that we serve a God who magnifies himself throughout His creation, and that we are made in His image, and that this image is obviously not limited to one particular color of skin!  I share this because yesterday I jogged through the campus of Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC.  For those of you that may not know, Livingstone is a predominantly black college and in my 30 years of living in this community I had never actually been on this campus.

            I was overwhelmed with joy as I ran in a way that I rarely am (sometimes running is an absolute slog).  I always enjoy my chance to be out in His creation, but this time I was passing by so many smiles, thumbs ups, and encouraging attitudes in those 5 or so minutes that it took me to traverse the campus, that I’m certain my pace picked up as a tangible expression of the joy I felt while running by these awesome people who are made in His image!  I absolutely love racial diversity and even as I type these words I am so very thankful that God created us in the most unique and beautiful of ways! 

            The amazing thing was, I was drawn to, and encouraged by these precious college students not just because of the color of their skin, but because of how their hearts showed out through those smiles and small examples of encouragement as I passed them by!  I pray that I am always an anointed and purposeful representative of my Fathers kingdom no matter where I go, or what I am doing (I Corinthians 10) and that I am always a lover of people the way my Savior intended it (Matthew 22:37) and I was so thankful for these beautiful reminders yesterday as I passed by those beautiful men and women made in His image!

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Disney and Theology: Belle, a Beast, and an Abundant Life

           In case you guys didn’t realize my home is overloaded with ladies.  In the midst of these beautiful women I’ve realized a couple of things.  First, I have to buy toilet paper by the pallet – second, dancing and dresses are a big part of my daily routine, and finally Disney movies and those of the princess variety are always on the daily playlist.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in watching these movies over and over again it’s that Gospel themes are hidden throughout these wonders of animation (mainly because all good stories find their richness from THE STORY!).  This past week while Beauty and the Beast has been in the rotation a startling truth cried out during the opening song.

            For those of you not steeped in Disney lore, as the story opens Belle is a young lady, in a small French town who longs for the adventure she reads about in her favorite books.  During her opening song she belts out that “there must be more than this provincial life”.  She longs for something more than the same people buying the same breads, complaining about prices, and going back to complain about their boring lives.  In the midst of this I was overwhelmed in my spirit by the beauty of Christ’s words John 10:10 – He reminds us that not only did He come to give life, but to give it more abundantly.  Christ calls us to the richest, most adventurous, and exciting life we can imagine if we are willing to lay it all down for Him. It doesn’t matter if that means “throw up and juice boxes” for those “stay at home” mom warriors - those who are seeking a simple way to share their faith with their co-worker - or those who have travelled a thousand miles following God’s call.  Let me be clear - there is nothing monotonous, simple, or provincial about the calling on our lives that God is offering through His gospel

            So, although we may not find adventure through an enchanted castle and a prince turned beastly, we can certainly find a rich and adventurous life in Christ – now is no better time to start living it!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Tony

 

Prayer: God…Help me to realize that you didn’t call me to simply live, but to an abundant life.  Help me to see every opportunity as a chance to draw closer to you, see others around me, and richly bless them, and therefore you, with all you would have me offer!

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For Such a Time as This

          Please click on the link below and notice Lauren and Harmony along with three others near the bottom of the page (image 10)...Lauren spoke clearly yesterday about how when she was down there (in Charlotte) that it was if spiritual warfare was thick in the air and her spirit was nearly overwhelmed by it...she (along with Harmony Jade Houston) saw the other three standing praying and immediately felt led to wrap their arms around them and pray over them...then they locked arms and prayed together over not just a city, but for the spirit of the Lord to move in a mighty way...and their prayer then, is our prayer now...for others to realize that "reason and logic" can never provide sound resistance or understanding in matters of moral and cultural significance, but the gospel can...Paul said I didn't come with flattering words, but with power of the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 2)...the power to affect change, and this change will never find it's foothold in sound argument, agreeing to disagree, what is reasonable, or what is logical...that power is, and forever will reside, in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which and in whom, rests all forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, and purpose...continuing to pray faithfully, not simply for a city or situation, but for the power of the gospel to rise up in the presence of His people and for His Spirit to encourage us to move in obedience as a grace-filled and truthful response to what the enemy has so deceitfully sought to take hold of - the hearts of people...

https://www.charlotteagenda.com/66969/11-images-hope-charlotte-needs-see-week/

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Community Celebration - A Personal Perspective

           For the fourth year our church “put on” a community celebration.  For over 5 hours the church at SCG enjoyed fellowship with each other, serving visitors and offering their time and gifts for the benefits of others.  Hot dogs ran out, snow cones devoured, and sweet treats given out.  We had wet kids all over the place, children standing in awe as butterflies landed on their fingers and hair, and more smiles than we could ever count.  We gave away bags and interacted with our community in a way that I long to make more consistent, and it is always a blessing to see the church “be the church”.  But two small moments were seared directly into my heart from my Papa!

            First, the ladies at our welcome table were phenomenal and they had a young lady with young children come up and ask if our church had a food pantry.  They indicated that we did not, but encouraged her to put this information down on her information card.  As I sat down to go through them in the middle of the event (I selfishly wanted to count the amount of visitors and “feel good” about the number) I came across her card and was stopped immediately by the statement under “Can our church help you in any way?” and her response was – “Food”! Moments later I saw her and her family leaving after an afternoon of food and fun for her children and approached her.  I had already talked to many of our members about bringing food the next day to help provide and they overwhelmingly said “yes”.  So I approached her and let her know that our church was planning on providing her some food the upcoming week and she stood there overwhelmed and in that moment all the “heat, tired bodies, and preparation” took a heavenly turn – and all for His glory!  All I could think about was Matthew 25:40 “…if you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me”

            Secondly, I had an awesome moment near the end of the day.  I had the opportunity to talk with a former classmate of mine who had shared that he and His “husband” were just trying to get by.  I spoke to Him for a few minutes about life in general and invited him to come to our church anytime (I am ashamed to admit that I did not share the fullness of the gospel) and was generally happy that he’d stopped by.  I was beyond grateful that he’d had a chance for he and his family to see a church serve them (he had come with his mother, aunt and some nieces/nephews).  But the most important moment came as the day was ending.  All the inflatables were down, all the food gone, and the last of our members driving home after a long day of serving – and this young man and his family were still out there, under the tree by the playground just enjoying the comfort of a day well spent.  In that moment I realized the generosity, servitude, and loving attitude of our church had made such a lasting impression upon this family (and my former classmate) that they wanted to simply be there as long as possible (they had gotten there in the first hour we started).  What a testament to God’s goodness, grace - and our opportunity to respond in obedience and love - that this family was able to see the gospel “lived out” right in front of them!  James 1:22 overwhelms me even now as I think about it.

            So as this “event” has come to a close, to be revisited again in 364 odd days, I am praying that our chances to impact our community with the gospel are not missed, and that we are faithful to the ministry he has given us (I Timothy 1:12).  Please pray for both of these families as you have the chance, and for our body of believers that gather at SCG. 

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A Season to Prepare

            As I’ve been reading lately in my Daily Quiet Time with Papa, I’ve been in the book of Deuteronomy and in the opening chapters of Deuteronomy Moses is spending time preparing the people to finally enter into the promised land.  It’s almost like a spiritual “to-do list” for the people so that when they finally enter in they would have a clear understanding of what God had done for them and what He requires of them moving forward.  Think about that for a minute.  God had been with them as they wandered for the previous 40 years – it’s not as if He had been absent – and had guided them, molded them, and shaped them in ways that they probably didn’t even understand/appreciate, and yet God is using Moses one last time to prepare them for what’s to come!

            As I read these passages I realize that God often puts “seasons” of preparation into our lives in anticipation of what’s to come.  It’s not as if He hasn’t been present before, but there are particular times when God is using circumstances to help us as we move forward.  He’s taking time to clarify for us just who He is, and what He desires of us. 

            I absolutely believe that our church is one of these “preparation seasons”.  Over the next 2 and a half months we have powerful opportunities to see God do some mighty things.  (Remember Deuteronomy precedes the book of Joshua – where God absolutely removes all hindrances to the people of Israel entering into the promised land – and He does it in miraculous ways!) We have Vacation Bible School, the “Be Free” conference/revival with Nikita Koloff, our annual Community Celebration, and so much more just around the corner and I believe God is calling for us to prepare.  Certainly we want to be organized, and to prepare our building for each of these opportunities, but more than that we need to be preparing our hearts for what God intends to do.

            I believe God wants to do the miraculous in our church and our community.  Much as the Jordan was parted so the people could pass through, I believe God wants to split obstacles that stand in the way of people walking into the place God has for them.  Just as walls of Jericho fell I believe God wants all resistance to be cast down before us so that He can bless us.  But before any of that can happen let us grab hold of this season of preparation that God has for us.  May our hearts and minds be ready for all that God intends.  May we look to Him to prepare us and trust that though it might not be easy, our God is good and His harvest is coming soon, if only we prepare in this season for the rain that is coming!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Tony

 

Prayer:  Papa – you are shaping my life, and our church’s life, in expectation of something awesome.  I believe that you are preparing us for the miraculous.  Help me to be ready for what you have.  May my love and adoration pour out to only you and may I look to you in faith for all that you have in store!  If I need to fast, I will fast.  If I need to pray, I will pray.  If I need to give, I will give.  Whatever you require of me in this season of preparation, let be be willing to do.  Thank you for this season, and I look forward to all you have in store ahead!

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The Right Way to Fight

           God has taught me many things both in, and out, of my life in ministry.  Countless truths of His have encouraged, equipped, humbled, and convicted me over the years.  Some of these have been pretty fundamental – like His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9) – the freedom He has given me (John 8:36) – the vastness of His love (Ephesians 3:18 and 19).  Over the last few months, though, He has taught something that has radically affected my faith – He has taught me the right way to fight!

            Ephesians Chapter 6 lets us know that when it comes to our spiritual walk with Christ that warfare (vs. 12) is going to be present.  It also lets us know over the course of four verses (vs. 11 – 14) that we put on spiritual armor not particularly to fight, but to stand!  Why would God have us stand rather than fight?  For this we have to take a look at the character of our Father and we find a pretty convincing testament to who He is in both the books of Exodus and Joshua.

            For some context, both of these books (Exodus and Joshua) find God’s people under attack – Moses as he leads God’s people away from the Egyptians and into an unknown land, and Joshua as he leads Israel out of the wilderness and into an occupied (but God-ordained) promised land.  To say that a fight would need to take place would be a terrible understatement, but let’s look carefully at exactly what the Word of God says took place when the fight came to the people of Israel.  Exodus 14:14 tells us that the Lord himself would fight for Israel, that they needed only to be silent.  Think about that for a moment – the most powerful army of the known world at the time was bearing down on a people without weapons and on foot.  Powerful chariots were being driven down upon them and the Egyptians weren’t out to make peace, and what does God tell His people to do? Be quiet! Why? Because God Himself would be doing the fighting.  A similar scenario plays out at the beginning of Joshua – God is calling Joshua to lead his people into the promised Land but look at the wording used in Joshua 1:2 – The bible says that Joshua is to lead the people into the land that God is giving them.  This isn’t something that they would take, but something God would give.  It wasn’t a fight God was stirring them to, but obedience. 

            So what does this mean for us.  Instead of getting caught in a “culture” war.  Or echoing our opinions across multiple platforms.  Maybe we should just seek the Lord and then be obedient.  His kingdom, and this fight, is not won by impressive logic, powerful opinions, or even good values.  His kingdom is only going to be won by fighting the right way – on our knees, standing with the armor of God fully equipped (for we wrestle not against flesh and blood), and in obedience to the Father.  In these times where it seems that a fight is itching to be fought on every corner, let us seek always to fight the right way!

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What a Psalm! What a Savior!

            I was just recently reading through Psalm 91, and in the midst of it I realized that even if I were to read Psalm 91 every day of my life, I’m not sure I could ever saturate myself enough with the richness of it - in fact its (God’s word) richness, according to Psalm 119 is sweeter than honey, and oh is this true with Psalm 91!

            Just look at the phrases/words that are echoed about or from our Father in this powerful Psalm: abide under His shadow, He is our refuge and fortress, our God, deliverer, coverer/protector, His truth is our shield and buckler, our refuge, our habitation, He charges angels to keep us and bear us up, He treads on the lion and snake, He will deliver us, set us on high, answer us, be with us in trouble, deliver us, satisfy us, and show us His salvation!  Just let those words saturate you for a moment.  Never in history has there been one like our God. 

            Often, people, will weave in and out of our lives, and if they are “special” friends then they might remain so our entire lives, and in the best of these friends we might receive 3 or 4 of these beautiful reminders from them – we may have a friend who helps us fight enemies that are set against us, or provide a safe place for us to live (both emotionally and physically) for a while.  But never could even the best of friends provide nearly all that God is providing for us in one small chapter in the huge narrative of His word!  There is more safety, shelter, love, protection, encouragement, faithfulness, beauty, richness, deliverance, satisfaction, and salvation in these 16 verses than we could find in a lifetime of friendships!

What a Psalm!  What a Savior!

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Cancer and A More Destructive Disease

            Sadly, the “C” word (Cancer), has had a prominent position in the lives of some of our members here lately.  It has been a trying and testing time as people we know and love have their bodies forced into a battle that they didn’t know was coming.  Cancer, and the treatments that come along with it, ravage the body in a devastating way.  It deteriorates, destroys, and attacks aggressively.  It is not something to take lightly, and Doctors who help treat along with the patients involved earnestly seek to do all that they can to prevent it’s spreading and hinder/eliminate its growth.  But with all this talk of cancer, God has reminded me of the most debilitating disease known to man – Sin.

            Sin, according to the book of Romans Chapter 6 has only one debilitating result – death.  It is not something that can be treated casually or carelessly.  It is not something that is hindered by good choices, or a good moral outlook on life.  It is something that, just as cancer devours the body, seeks to devour the soul.  As dangerous as cancer is to the lives it attacks, Jesus tells us that sin is worse.  Look at his words from Matthew Chapter 10, verse 28 – “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.  These are terrifying and heart-wrenching words from Jesus.  You see, Jesus was, is, and always will be most concerned with our souls – because our souls are eternal. The real problem is that we don’t view sin in our life as near as debilitating or destructive as something like cancer, and yet the outcome of sin is so much worse – not one death as our bodies pass on, but a second death that is eternal and hopeless, loveless, and God-less!

            Thankfully – even though Cancer has no cure – sin does – and it resides in the one we will celebrate this weekend – JESUS!  Paul told us that while sin’s eternal payment is death that God offers us the gift of eternal life through His son Jesus Christ and the redemption he offered through His death on the cross.  So even as cancer impacts you this week (as I’m sure we all know someone struggling in this battle) we need to be aware that there is something so much worse wrecking the lives of people we love.  We need the same urgency in prayer for those whose souls are in danger as we are those whose bodies are in danger.  We need the same boldness in proclaiming the gospel as we do wearing “pink ribbon” t-shirts.  Let us offer grace, truth, and love to all those struggling whether it’s with cancer or sin, and let us do it in such a way that the Father is glorified – because as much as cancer has become such a present part of our lives let us not forget about the disease that has hindered us since Adam and attack it with as much fervency as we can muster through our Savior!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Tony

 

Prayer: Father – help us to be aware not just of those who are in need of your physical healing, but let us been keenly aware of those in need of spiritual healing.  Though our lives may be temporal, our souls are not, and therefore let us strive today to seek out opportunities so share your life-restoring gospel with all those in desperate need of that healing today!

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The Choice...and Choices

Today is an election day in NC (Primary).  So it’s a day ripe with choices for individuals across our state.  One of the great privileges we have in this nation is choice, and while it’s a powerful responsibility, thankfully the Bible is not silent on the topic.  In fact, two great passages – one from the Old Testament and one from the New – address choice pretty faithfully and I think it’s important we take a look at both before making such important choices in regards to our nation (as another resource read this article by Russell Moore on the powerful responsibility we have as evangelicals when it comes to voting on particular candidates - http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/march-web-only/should-christians-vote-for-lesser-of-two-evils.html).

            In the book of Joshua, Chapter 24, we come across an important portion of Israel’s history.  Joshua, as one of Israel’s greatest military and spiritual leaders, is closing out his reign and giving a little speech hoping to encourage the people to stay faithful to almighty God when they are surrounded by cultures that do not serve Jehovah.   A major portion of his exhortation centers around, you guessed it, choice.  In verse 15 Joshua in a moment of pointed clarity says “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose* this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.  But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  The most important choice that faced the people of God, and Joshua specifically, at this time was whom they would serve.  Paul makes a similar statement to the church at Colossae in the 3rd chapter of his letter when he reminds them that “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.”  You see, Joshua and Paul both came from the standpoint that all choices made by believers should find their root in the authority of our Father.  He is both the first, and last say, when it comes to decisions we should make.

            So it doesn’t matter if your voting in a primary election – like many will and have – today.  If you’re making a decision about what to prioritize as a “stay at home mom”, if you’re unsure whether you really ought to copy a person’s homework for that better grade, or if you’re making million dollar decisions at your place of employment.  It really only ever boils down to making “the choice” of following after our Father’s heart, and then all the other “choices” will fall in line.  Praying for you daily!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Tony

 

*emphasis added

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Who Do You Trust - A Reminder From Psalm 20

            The year 2016 is going to be a pivotal year.  It is going to be a pivotal year for our nation.  Election years always seem to be important, but it seems even more vital than in years past because of the dearth of “good” candidates.  On top of that, just in the past two weeks the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court (those who determine the constitutionality of our laws) passed away unexpectedly.  2016 is a big year for our country politically.  It is also an important year for us culturally.  The Charlotte City Council just recently passed protections for the LGBT community that in a terrifying turn of events allows people who are born one gender, but identify as the other, to enter into a bathroom of the opposite gender!  It is certainly an important year for us culturally.  Finally, it is certainly an important year for our church.  It has grown, both exponentially and spiritually.  We have seen members join, lives redeemed through the power of the gospel, lives transformed by the gospel being consistently sown into their lives, and we are beginning to shift our focus back to the key tenet of all church growth – the gospel! 

            For all these reasons it is vital that we know in whom to put our trust.  Our nation cannot truly put its trust in whoever is elected this November, or whichever Justice is appointed later this year.  We cannot trust culture to lead us in a direction that draws us closer to our Savior (in fact we know scripturally that the opposite is true – because we know who the ruler of this world is – 2 Cor. 4:4, John 12:31, etc…).  And we as the church body cannot put our faith in the pastor, the deacons, Sunday school teachers, or ministry leaders.  In fact, Psalm 20 verse 7 tells us very clearly in whom we ought to put our trust – “the name of the Lord our God”.

            Because the reality is this – no one has the authority that the Lord our God has.  No President, no city council, no Supreme Court Justice, no pastor, no ministry leader, no deacon, not even the ruler of this world – satan, has the authority that our Father in Heaven has.  In Him do we find our hope.  In Him do we find our faith.  In Him do we find our purpose.  In Him we trust!

God Bless,

Pastor Tony

Prayer – “Lord, help us to recognize that no matter how our nation, the world, culture, or even our church may look, we know that you have all authority and power.  We seek to trust you not only to handle the ‘big’ things of this world, but also the little things in our lives that affect us day by day.  Help us to trust you more each day”

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