Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who Am I?

The three major questions in our life are; Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Identity. These are questions that everyone sometime or another will ask. It may come early in life or later but the questions will be asked.

At the age of ten, sitting beside an old trunk of family pictures and papers, I begin my search for who I am. I have continued that search throughout my life trying to answer the questions of life.

These basic questions have to do with personal identity. In order to establish who I am, I must first establish my beginnings before I can truly find my place in the family. There are certain items that help in the determination of who I am. First, I must have parents. This is the beginning of who I am. I am part my mother, part my father and part of their ancestral beginnings. I am unique in the fact that I have my own personal identity that is a culmination of all my grandparents back to Adam and Eve.

Next, there is the record of my birth. This is the document that states I am legally the child of my mother and father. There is a date, time and place where my birth occurred. There is proof of who my parents are, their names, dates of birth, race, occupation and place of residence is listed. This document contains the name given to me by my parents. It is by this name that I will be known for the rest of my life.

With my birth came an extended family. This family is divided between my mother and father’s family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I inherited family characteristics that can be observed in my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and cousins. All these are only the physical traits that I have, they are not necessarily who I am as a person. Yet, they will have a major impact on whom I become.

Identity is a vital necessity of life. We must be able to establish identity for every aspect of life. We are assigned numbers, codes and passwords for the everyday transactions of life. We are photographed, fingerprinted, and DNA logged to establish who we are in reference to our physical identity. Yet, this does not tell me who I really am. It only identifies who I am in reference to the information stored about me.

The identity of who I am, is more than physical it is spiritual as well. After all man was created two-third spiritual and only one-third physical. I may be able to establish and identify my physical characteristics but I must establish who I am spiritually.

There must be a birth. The command you must be born again is still applicable today as it was in the day that Jesus first made this statement. Just as with my physical birth there is a record of my spiritual birth. Rejoice that your names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This spiritual birth comes from my repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ. I become part of the spiritual family of Jesus Christ. My identity is established by spiritual birth. There is recorded in heaven a time, and place that my birth occurred. It is witnessed by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with my spirit that I am a child of God who has been spiritually re-born in His image. This is the inner assurance that I have in Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why I love the Church

During my forty-two years in the ministry I have had people come to me and tell me why they left “my church”. Sometimes I want to say, "Well, if it's my church, I think that was a very wise decision and I think I'm going to leave also.” (They wouldn't know how to respond to that.)  But, they want to explain why they left ‘my church’. Most of the time it is, "You weren't meeting my needs." My question is have they ever told me specifically what their needs were? No! I ask this question if everyone in the church had the same attitude, how are anyone's needs going to be met? That is amazing to me. If individuals reserve the right to have that attitude, then they must allow everybody the freedom to have that attitude. And if everybody has that attitude, who is going to do all the need-meeting? This is what will work: when people stop sitting in the pew saying, 'They're not meeting my needs' and start saying, 'Whose needs can I meet?' Then needs will be met. When the servant spirit flourishes in a congregation, then they minister to each other as unto the Lord."

You hear how some like the minister, while others don't really care for him. You hear how we need more evangelism, more classes, better sermons, more money,and all kinds of stuff. What we need to be hearing about in “my church” is that God's people.... love the Church! That's right love the Church! "Wait a minute Preacher, we are supposed to love God. We are supposed to love Jesus. We are supposed to love His Word. We are supposed to love our enemies, But, the Church? Are you sure?" Did you know Jesus, our Lord, loves the Church? "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her;" Ephesians 5:25

In a Nashville newspaper there was a story of a woman who hadn't missed attending church in 1,040 Sundays although she was in her eighties. The editor commented, "It makes one wonder, what's the matter with Mrs. Craig? Doesn't it ever rain or snow in her town on Sunday? Doesn't she ever have unexpected company? How is it that she never goes anywhere on Saturday night so that she's too tired to attend the worship service the next morning? Doesn't she ever 'beg off' to attend picnics or family reunions, or have headaches, colds, nervous spells, or tired feelings? Doesn't she ever oversleep or need time to read her Sunday newspaper? Hasn't she ever become angry at the minister or had her feelings hurt by someone and felt justified in staying home to hear a good sermon on the radio or TV? WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH MRS. CRAIG ANYWAY?

What's the matter with Mrs. Craig? Nothing at all! She loves the Church of the Lord Jesus!

When I was seven years old I remember a preacher who stopped by our house one evening and fixed a broken window. It changed the direction of my parents--from sinner to saint.
I remember the many Sundays when the families from church got together for dinner and horseshoes and to talk the “Bible.”. My, I loved those people!

I think of a fella by the name of Granville Rogers from Nocadocious Texas who taught me to preach. A Wesleyan pastor who we called Rev. Dauginbaugh, who taught Bible studies in our community and gave me a desire to know more about God. A tall, skinny man named Edwin Newby, who taught me the Old Testament and opened up a new understanding of God's Word.

Yes, there's been the other side too. Some who haven't liked me too much, I know that is hard to believe. Some who have hurt me by their actions and their life-style! But no one is perfect! Others who have caused the Church harm and directly or indirectly affected my family. However, it is wise to forget those things rather than cling to them. The people of God are good people! They are people who are trying to please their Savior! Once in a while there will be one who will try our patience, one who will misunderstand our motives, some who will seek to harm us, but they are few and far between. I'm glad. The people who have influenced my life the most. Have always been the people of God! Some great men & women of the faith, others, simply Christians, like you and me. Some with PH.D.'s while others were farmers and mill-workers. If there were no eternity heaven or hell (and there is an eternity, heaven and hell), I feel blessed to simply walk among and be part of the people of God who are the finest men and women on the planet!

We will not always agree, and occasionally, we may find ourselves on different sides of opinions, and we may even exchange tense words. But, you're the family of God. You are one of the reasons why "I love the Church".

The Church exists to bring glory to God and honor to Jesus, the Savior of the body. Our actions individually as well as corporately, are to exalt God, whether in a worship service, a board meeting, at home or at work

I once read a story about Puccini (Poo-che-nee) he composed the operas La Boheme and Madame Butterfly. (I do attend Culture at The Creek sometimes.) It was during his battle with cancer in 1922 that he began to write Turandot, which many now consider his best. He worked on the score day and night, despite his friends' advice to rest and to save his energy. When his sickness worsened, Puccini said to his students, "If I don't finish Turandot, I want you to finish it." He died in 1924, leaving the work unfinished. Students gathered all that was written of Turandot, studied it in great detail, and then proceeded to write the remainder of the opera. The world premier was performed in the La Scala Opera House in Milan in 1926, conducted by Toscanini, Puccini's favorite student. The opera went beautifully until Toscanini came to the end of the part written by Puccini. He stopped the music, put down the baton, turned to the audience, and announced, "Thus far the master wrote, until he died." There was a long pause; no one moved. Then Toscanini picked up the baton, turned to the audience, and, with tears in his eyes, announced, "But his disciples finished his work." The opera closed to thunderous applause, and to a permanent place in the annals of great works..

It is the business of the Church to finish the work of Jesus Christ our Lord because we love the Master of the Church.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Political Observations

With the elections coming up I thought I would share some political observations.

  • Political indecisiveness is the key to flexibility. (Sometimes called flip flopping)

  • You can't tell which way a politician goes by reading his lips. (READ MY LIPS)

  • Congress as proven there is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation.

  • Happiness is when politicians are in recess.(The only time America is truly safe)

  • The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant in any political debate.

  • A politician who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world of politics.

  • Things are more like they are today than they ever have been before.

  • Any campaign worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty.

  • Politicians may come and go, but taxes accumulate.

  • I have seen the political truth and it makes no sense.

  • If you see a politician smiling when things go wrong, they have someone in mind to blame. (No doubt George Bush)

  • By the time you can make ends meet, some politician has moved the ends.

  • There is always one more politician than you counted on.

  • A politician who says it is as bad as it can get, is not to be believed.

  • Never wrestle with a politician: You both get all dirty, and the politician likes it.
Don't forget to vote.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fighting With Pigs

I grew up in the country. Growing up in the country gives you some experiences that you could never have in town or the city. One such experience was with pigs, but before I talk about pigs you need to know where I'm coming from

One of my brothers raised Quarter horses. So with horses and calves around sometimes when our folks were gone, we conducted our version of the rodeo. We broke horses, rode calves, or I should say attempted to ride calves. All this was exciting until a neighbor friend told us about riding hogs. We had never " rode a hog," and I'm not talking about a Harley. We didn't even know you could ride a hog. So one Sunday we went over to try out this new experience. 

I guess most of you know more about pigs than I could every tell you. So all I can relate to is my limited personal experience. Pigs seem to have a natural nature which gravitates to mud, and these hogs were no different. We "attempted" to ride the hogs. Attempt being the key word. Since there is nothing to hold on to you had to balance yourself on their back. This balancing act is a major accomplishment. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience. The hogs are always headed for their wallow. By one or two attempts we were as muddy as the pigs. And the smell was terrible.

As you sit there in your pious wisdom, you think why you would want to wrestle with a pig just to say you rode one? Good question? But from this experience, I learned two things that can be applied to dealing with people. One, if you wrestle with a pig, you're going to get muddy, and you will stink. Two, the pig enjoys the mud and the smell and doesn't need an excuse to get you in the same condition.

We have been admonished by Jesus not to cast our pearls before the swine. They cannot and do not appreciate or understand the value of the pearls. But they do understand the mud, and if they can, they will bring you to their level of understanding.

So how does this relate to people? There are people who act like pigs. And before you look around, remember this, we have all at one time or another acted like a pig. If this were not true Jesus would not have compared people with pigs.

I have watched with interest at the 4-H Fair when the Champion Showmanship contest is being held. It's the pigs that give me the most interest. These young kids make the pigs go where they want them, around chairs and into the pen. Their secret-- they stay in control.

So how do you deal with people who act like pigs? You stay in control. In reality, you stay in control of the conversation and your attitude. How can you stay in control? You choose to stay in control. You need to understand yourself. Why do you act and respond the way you do? People don't judge you by your intentions. They judge you by your actions. They don't judge you by your ideas; they judge you by your behavior. And I might add behavior is an indication of your needs.

We are still talking about knowing yourself. If you know why you act the way you do, then you should be able to understand people who are like you. Well, 70 % of all people fall into this first category they get excited by attention, achievement, recognition, adventure, excitement, and spontaneity. These people are persuasive, risk-takers, competitive, seek change, socially skilled, inspiring, open, direct, outgoing. But they are turned off by people who show a lack of enthusiasm for their projects, they don't like waiting, cannot stand indecision, or people who have to do things the same way all the time. They can't stand to hear "We've always done it this way." When things aren't going their way, they become pushy, intimidating, overbearing, restless, impatient, manipulative, abrasive, reactive and dominating. Keep in mind I said 70% of all people fall into this category.

Fifteen percent of all people are exacting, thorough, factual, reserved, meticulous, practical, calm, have high standards, and are risk-avoiders. They enjoy people who are a perfectionist, practical, like running their life, need lots of information, and are consistent. Why? That is what they do. They can't stand people who are over-assertive, careless, arrogant, and fakes. These people are slow to get things done; they are withdrawn, dull, sullen, shy, passive, and perfectionist.

Then we have a group that makes up 10% of all people. They are practical, orderly, very direct, self-determined, organized, traditional, goal-oriented, dependable, economical, ambitious. They like to control people; they enjoy responsibility; they master whatever they do, they are loyal, and like a fast pace. These people can be very dogmatic, stubborn, rigid, unapproachable, distant, critical, and insensitive. They don't like people who are ambiguous, lazy, show emotions and are irreverent.

Then we have a group that makes up only 5% of all people. They are team-oriented, caring, devoted, enthusiastic, helpful, accessible, trusting, sensitive, good listeners, good friends, like variety, very generous, and are peacemakers. They enjoy being popular; they like closeness, kindness, and caring people. They try to affirm everything. They don't like people who are insensitive, who cause dissension, who are insincere and are egoistic. They sometimes become to other-oriented. They are indecisive, impractical, vulnerable, they are always hesitant and are to subjective.

Now is it wrong to have anyone of these characteristics? No. But it is wrong to display a sixth-grade behavior, and become a verbal idiot by losing control of yourself? Yes!. This behavior is not conducive to Christian living nor is it of character for Christian conduct. When I know where your buttons are, or to use an expression of my father, Where your goat is tied, and I intentionally set out to make you upset, then I am wrong. 

The disciples even had a hard time working together. In looking at the Gospels we see in Luke 22:24 “And there was also a [strife] among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”

Paul in writing to the Christians at Rome addressed the problem of getting along with one another. Romans 13:13 "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in [strife] and envying." 

The church at Corinth also had similar problems.1 Corinthians 3:3 "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas <there is> among you envying, and [strife], and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" James 3:14 " But if ye have bitter envying and [strife] in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. James 3:16 For where envying and [strife] <is>, there <is> confusion and every evil work." 

What does all this strife do? It creates anger. Is it wrong to be angry? No. It is a sign that you are human. To get angry often is a sign you are not surrendering or yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. You have given away a piece of your mind. You have not learned to have peace of mind. For you to have peace of mind, you must learn to build trust with the individual with whom you are having problems. They do not view you as the positive, caring Christian you see yourself as. They do not trust you, they do not believe you are acting in their best interest so consequently, they don't care what you say to them or ask them. So, in turn, they push your buttons or turn your goat loose.

Building trust is your priority in succeeding with people who upset you. The fact is this: If a person doesn't trust you, doesn't believe that you genuinely care, he or she won't ever be compelled or motivated to cooperate with you or even consider your concerns. When a person doesn't trust you, your relationship is doom to fail. Building trust is difficult. And I might add, some people will never accept your efforts. It is their choice. No one is making them do or act they way they do. It is by their choice. They choose to be what they are right or wrong.

There are two major classes of people those you step out by faith and take a risk. Because they believe and trust in God-- their faith is operational. The second class will not take a risk they are faith-avoiders. They have lost confidence in their ability to walk by faith--their faith is non-operational. They have lost the peace of mind that comes from the surrendered life.

The Quaker John Rowntree speaks of the faith-avoider in this manner. “It is a great mistake to think that faith is exclusively or even mainly an affair of the heart, a question of the spiritual temper or attitude of the soul. Faith is a living, working power of the mind, which wills, desires, and hopes and trusts and believes and obeys. Aye, obeys. That is where our faith is weak. That is where we need the potency of the Gospel. We know better than we do. Perceiving the good we continually choose the evil--I am, shall we say, the average man.. If anyone were to say differently, I would be shocked. I read the Bible, perhaps sometimes wondering what I have read five minutes afterward. I go certainly once, perhaps under favorable circumstances, twice, to church, or meeting. I don't understand what is meant by the Trinity or the Atonement: I leave all that to the clergyman or the minister, but in a more or less definite way I believe that my earthly life is so irreproachable that my eternal future is sure to be pleasant. Christ, I say is my Savior, by which I mean that He will leave me alone in this world, and save me in the next. So I go on. Now and then someone upon whose companionship I depend on is called beyond the grave. On such occasions, I a deeply touched...And then the tide of life, business, and pleasure flows in again. The gap is filled. I forgot and once more am satisfied to live on the surface. I flutter through the hours like a butterfly in a meadow---dipping aimlessly now here, now there. But let me suppose that the strong blow off some great catastrophe was to smite me. Something that destroyed the routine of self-pleasing and compelled me to face the realities which I have steadfastly shirked. Let it be some permanent physical restriction like blindness, or some financial disaster involving bankruptcy---no matter what. Where do I stand no?. Everything is bitter, life and the interminable future are desolate. Suddenly I realize that my Christ was only a figure. I made Him and draped Him myself. I realize that at the heart of what I called my religion was but selfishness and that my insincerity has brought upon me the doom of spiritual emptiness."

If you find yourself in this condition, you are wrestling with the pigs. If you have grown dissatisfied with a drifting life, that has robbed you of all spiritual joy and victory then turn your life over to Jesus Christ. Yield yourself to Him. Surrender your will.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Historical Event

Just a few miles from where I grew up there was a historical event took place. In 1966 the Indiana Sesquicentennial Commission erected an historic highway marker noting the incident on State Road 38 in Madison County. It reads: "In 1824, nine Indians were murdered by white men near this spot. The men were tried, found guilty and hanged. It was the first execution of white men for killing Indians.”

For years I drove by the marker without knowing the full story. In January of this year 2010, I thought it would be interesting to research the story behind the marker. Here is what I found.
In February 1824, a small party of Seneca Indians came to the area to hunt and collect maple syrup. The townspeople developed a friendly relationship with the band, which was headed by Chief Logan, "a friend of the white men". The party included two other men, Ludlow and M'Doal (or Mingo), two women, two boys and two girls.

Thomas Harper, a frontiersman who lived in the area, disliked Indians. He convinced four other men to help him attack the small Seneca group. Two of the men were his relatives, his brother-in-law John T. Bridge, Sr. and his 18-year-old son John Bridge, Jr. The other two men were James Hudson and Andrew Sawyer. Another teenage boy, Andrew Jones, accompanied the attackers.

The men approached the Seneca on March 22, 1824 and asked for help in tracking horses that had escaped from Harper's farm. Logan and Ludlow agreed to help, and they walked with the white men toward a wooded area, joking as they went. In the woods, however, Harper and Hudson fell behind, and shot the two Seneca men in the back. The men returned to the camp, where they killed the women and children. M'Doal was not in camp but witnessed the killings as he returned. He was wounded while escaping. In all, Harper's party killed eight people: two men, two women, and four children. They stole everything of value from the Indian camp and returned to their homes.

The next day, a local farmer discovered the scene of the murder and reported it. News of the crime spread quickly, and settlers feared retribution from the Native Americans of the local Delaware villages. The perpetrators had bragged of the massacre. Within a week they were all in custody, except for Harper, who had taken the stolen goods and fled to Ohio.

While the accused men awaited trial, William Conner, an interpreter and community leader, and Indian agent John Johnston traveled to the local Indian villages to talk with the people. They assured them that the men who had attacked their people had been caught and would face justice. As a result, the threat of Indian retaliation for the murders subsided.

The four men who had been arrested were tried in Madison County Court. Governor William Hendricks employed Senator James Noble to serve as prosecutor. Hoping to maintain peaceful relations with the Indians, Hendricks requested the court show no mercy on the men if they were found guilty. The cases were tried before a three-member circuit court panel, consisting of judges William Wick, Samuel Holliday, and Adam Winsell.

James Hudson was tried first. Andrew Jones, the teenager who had accompanied the men, was a key witness in the trial. The case generated nationwide attention. Some people were surprised when Hudson was found guilty. Hudson was sentenced to death by hanging, with an execution date of December 1, 1824. It was the first time any white man in the United States had been sentenced to capital punishment for killing a Native American.

Hudson appealed to the Supreme Court of Indiana, then in session at Corydon, Indiana. The court issued an opinion on November 13, written by Chief Justice Isaac Blackford that upheld the lower court's decision and rejected all points of Hudson's appeal. Two days later, Hudson escaped from jail, and hid beneath the floor of a vacant cabin, where he suffered frostbite and dehydration. He was recaptured ten days later, when he came out of hiding to find water. While he was missing, the execution date was rescheduled to the following January.

On January 12, 1825, a large crowd, which included several Seneca Indians, gathered to witness the historic execution. The condemned man had to be carried to the gallows due to the frostbite he had suffered while in hiding.

The remaining three men were tried on May 9, 1825. All three were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. However, while the jury found John T. Bridge, Jr. guilty of first degree murder, it recommended that he be pardoned due to the influence of his father and uncle. Additionally, a petition on his behalf was signed by 94 local men (including many members of the jury, the court clerk, several attorneys and a minister) and submitted to the Governor of Indiana, J. Brown Ray. The petition cited "his youth, ignorance, and the manner which he was led into the transaction." However, by the appointed date of execution, it had not been answered.

On June 3, another large crowd, including numerous Indians, gathered for the executions. These were conducted one at a time. Andrew Sawyer was hanged first. John Bridge, Sr. was executed next. His 18-year old son, John Bridge, Jr., witnessed the hangings of his father and uncle before being led to the gallows and fitted with a noose and hood. However, at that point, a stranger stepped to gallows and said, "Sir, do you know in whose presence you stand?" Bridge shook his head. "There are but two powers known to the law that can save you from hanging by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead; one is the great God of the Universe, the other is J. Brown Ray, Governor of the State of Indiana; Governor Ray stepped out from the crowd and stopped the execution. Presenting the pinioned teenage prisoner with a written pardon, the governor announced, "you are pardoned" and the young prisoner was immediately set free.

In Fall Creek Park in Pendleton, a stone marker reads "Three white men were hung here in 1825 for killing Indians." It should have included, “and one was pardoned by the Governor of the State of Indiana.” In an instant, what had looked like a hopeless situation became a door of hope. John Bridge Jr. went back home, settled down, opened a dry goods store and died peacefully, fifty-one years later!

I related that story to ask this question: Can you imagine the fear that must have gripped the heart of that young man as he watched his father and his uncle die, knowing that he was next. Can you imagine the terror as he was led onto the gallows and that noose was placed around his neck? It must have been a moment of terror like few have ever experienced! Then to have someone step forward and snatch you from the very jaws of death. How can one describe the emotions?

But that is not always the case. George Wilson was sentenced to hang after he was convicted of killing a guard while robbing a federal payroll from a train. Public sentiment against capital punishment led to an eventual pardon by President Andrew Jackson. Unbelievably, Wilson refused to accept the pardon. Can one do that? The case became so legally confusing that the Supreme Court had to rule on it. Chief Justice John Marshall delivered the verdict: "A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die."

Friend, if you have never received the pardon for your sins, if you have never trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, you stand with the rope of eternal death around your neck, but there is a pardon waiting for you if you will have it! You can walk away free.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Business of Happy

This past week I was speaking with an individual who explained to me that as a minister I had no knowledge of how to deal with disgruntle people. He informed me, as a minister, I was in the business of “happy” dealing only with happy people. As a pastor, I have found that pastors are in a dangerous occupation! We are perhaps the single most stressful and frustrating working profession, more than medical doctors, lawyers, politicians or teachers. Over 70% of pastors are so stressed out and burned out that they regularly consider leaving the ministry. Thirty-five to forty percent of pastors actually do leave the ministry, most after only five years. So we deal with happy people? Sounds good, but the reality for many ministers is:

    Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches. (In my 42 years of ministry that is 756,000 who have left the ministry while I have been a minister)
    Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
    Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
    Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. ( I entered the ministry with a skilled trade that supported my family.)
    Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. Ninety percent of pastors said their seminary or Bible school training did only a fair to poor job preparing them for ministry. (The training of ministers offers little place for reality. The constant pressure for "flexibility," "sensitivity," "inclusion of all," and "collaborative ministry" is creating frustration with the job of being a pastor. There is nothing wrong with these concepts in themselves, but as they are taught and insisted upon, they bear no relation to a prophet that is able to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” The reality is we are called by God but employed by man.)
    Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people. (I learned from experience not to fight with pigs, they enjoy a good wallow in the mud and don't mind the stink.)
    Ninety percent said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be before they entered the ministry. ( I knew what to expect, my father and father-in-law were ministers.)
    Seventy percent felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called. ( I heard the call and realized it was for life. It is not a profession it is a ministry.)
    Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression. (I fight it only on the first and twentieth of the month --pay days.)
    Today pastors face more conflict, more anger, and more expectations than ever before. At the same time, they have little pay, little reward, and produce their own dysfunctional families because of their absence. But, I am among the few who deals in the ministry of “happy” and minister to only happy parishioners. Truly I am blessed.

Friday, October 15, 2010


America has tried to maintain our culture by loyalty to the Christian ethic without a corresponding faith in the Christian religion that produced it. Let us love everyone without the foundation of that love—Jesus Christ.

In practice most Americans are atheist even though they believe in God, yet, they tend to ignore God in their lives as though he does not exist. We are no longer dependent upon God, we have become self sufficient. We think we are, “. . .rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing Rev. 3:17

The only way in which we can overcome our declining culture is through a burning faith in the Christian principles that this country was founded upon.

In the post 9-11 era much has been written and discussed about the Muslim faith. The Western mind has a difficult time understanding a religion that is so cruel in it practice. The number of American lives lost, the economic impact of two wars, the recession, the uncertainty of daily life for millions of Americans has caused many to question the integrity of our national leaders who seem to cater to the Muslim faith. Our President just appointed two devout Muslims to Homeland Security. I know this makes me feel safer when boarding a plane.

The problems of America have saddened many good Americans. There are however, some who are glad that we have the problems of high unemployment, high foreclosures, bankrupt businesses, unsecured boarder and distrust in the leaders of our country. The Speaker of the House feels that food stamps and unemployment give us the best bang for the buck. What scatterbrained reasoning is this? It seems the sooner American brand of democracy dies the better, because they (the scatterbrained) believe the central foundation of Christian principles has been a mistake. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they've closed their eyes...” Acts 28:27

What is amazing about the liberal left is not the rejection of American brand of democracy in practice, that has been something America has contended with since the late 1800's. The problem will be the rejection of the American democracy in theory. As long as the theory remains intact, there is always hope of regeneration, The theory is based on the principles of the Christian faith. 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The recognition that something is wrong with our country is now so widespread that every American is aware that we are in a downward spiral. Much of this has arisen from the obvious discrepancy between the promises of positive change and the actions of a destructive administration. The mood of the country has become pure skepticism. Instead of asking , “Why God has allowed this to happen?” many are saying, “How could man have made such a mess of things?” Again, America has forgotten the principles upon which this nation was founded. We have forgotten that God is in control. 2 Chronicles 34:26 gives us insight how God works. “ And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same.

The most dangerous time of the great American Experiment is the present. The principles of the American founders based upon Christian faith have been forsaken. The liberal philosophy of the present day cannot meet the social needs of society nor the spiritual void that has been created. The Great Society of the 60's brought about the enslavement of a segment of our county through entitlements. The philosophy of entitlement has replaced the individual spirit of America. The church has allowed itself to become weakened and has often compromised it's principles with the philosophy of the ungodly and has placed itself in a position of ineffectiveness. The righteous people of this country must rise up, stand and be count as contenders for the faith. It is time we stop defending and go on the offense.