Simply Pray and Pray Simply

Simply pray! These words can have two meanings.  When you are in a trial – you can simply pray for God to help, but when you are praying – pray simply because God already knows what you need, he doesn’t need long, fancy dialogs from us.  In Matthew 6:7 Jesus said “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Praying should not be hard, but simple: Romans 8:26 says “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.” God knows our hearts; it is enough to simply pray “Dear God,” or “Heavenly Father” please help me! He already knows our innermost thoughts so we can “pray simply”  God bless you today and forever!

He Is Risen Indeed!

Easter Sunday! A day to rejoice after the brutal treatment of Jesus on Good Friday. Our Lord, after being in a cold, dark tomb has risen and defeated death! Can you imagine the joy Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and the other women must have felt when the angel said in Luke 24:6-7: “He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” We can share that joy knowing that our savior defeated death and now sits at the right hand of God, waiting for the time when He will call us and we will rise to meet him in the air. We can rejoice because of Resurrection Sunday and what it means for our future. God bless each of you!

What About the Other Trees

We all remember the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were told in Genesis 2:16-17: “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Because of their disobedience humanity suffered the consequences of sin. But…. have you ever considered the other trees? God provided them with apples, oranges, pomegranates, olives, avocados, nut trees, trees of every variety! The point is, Adam and Eve focused on what they couldn’t have instead of all the good things that God gave them to enjoy. Are we like that? When we focus on things we don’t have we end up getting ourselves in trouble. Instead, read Philippians 4:8 and praise Him for all he has given. May God always provide you with good things!

Promise Keepers

Has anyone ever made you a promise that they didn’t keep?  How disappointed were you? God makes these promises to us: I will be with you, I will protect you, I will be your strength, I will answer you, I will provide for you, I will give you peace, I will always love you, and so many more. God’s promises never fail; He never disappoints and we can always trust in Him. Just like Him, we should strive to keep our promises to Him and to each other. Ephesians 4:25 says “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” It’s a goal we should all reach for.  I promise to always love Jesus and you!

The Doors of Our Lives

There are many doors we walk through in life: doors of opportunity, office doors, garage doors, we walk in through the front door, we run out the back door, we open the car door for our spouses. What is the most important door? The door that leads to Jesus. He is the door! John 10:9 tells us this: ” I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” I want to enter in through that door, how about you? May He richly bless you today!

What is Peace?

Many people believe that peace is the non-existence of problems or crisis, but peace is really the presence of God. Because he is with us, we can feel peace in the middle of any storm in life; God is in complete control and never takes his eyes off of us. John 14:27 says: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled,  neither let it be afraid.” Real peace comes from Him! God bless you always with his peace.

BLESSINGS

How do you receive your blessings? Is it through financial success, having a good job, possessions, having many friends? Have you also considered that we can receive blessings through tears, trials, and sleepless nights? As a result of those difficult things, blessings can come from a lesson learned, a bible verse, a note from a caring friend, or a phone call at just the right time. Each of our blessings, no matter whether we consider them coming from a good or bad circumstance, come from God. Lamentations 3:22-23 tell us: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Let us be sure to thank Him for ALL our blessings, Amen?

What Does God Look Like?

Has anyone ever seen the face of God? God himself says no! Moses saw him as a burning bush; in Exodus, God was seen as a pillar of cloud during the day and fire at night; in Genesis 32:30 Jacob wrestled with God in the form of a man; in Judges 13:22 Samson’s parents saw him in the form of an angel; in the New Testament He was in the form of Jesus the man, but no one has ever seen the fullness of God. Exodus 33:20 says “And he said, Thou canst see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” But….. because of His great love for us, and because Jesus died for us, to all of us who believe: one day we will see Him. Hallelujah! God bless and keep you always.

Jesus is the Path

There are many paths we take in life: the garden path, the path ahead, a path to success, a path to failure. In Matthew 7 we are told that wide is the gate and broad is the path to destruction. What path are you on? In Psalm 16:11 we are told: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Jesus is the path to peace, joy, and salvation. That is the path I want all of us to be on! I pray that God blesses you today.

How Many Churches Will Close?

I just read about another church closing.  Ten years ago, few would have predicted this particular church’s closure.

It didn’t close because it compromised its conviction, doctrine or changed their bible. They closed because they failed to allow God’s transforming power to change them. God’s path to abundant life for a church or Christian is transformation/change. That is true for anything God is involved in.  There are two options: change or die.

What kind of change is needed?  Let me begin by saying the needed changes can only happen in God’s power.

1. We must stop trying to live in the past. It does us no good. As a Pastor, I can assure you easy growth is not a reality for any church. Why? People no longer come to church because they believe they must do so to be accepted.  “The old saying, “they know where we are, they can come if they want to” is poison. The Great Commission  for Christianity is about going; it’s not about y’all come.

2. We must cease seeing the church as a place of convenience, comfort, and stability in our fast changing world. Certainly, God’s truth is unchanging,  should  we expect our church not to change methods, approaches, and man-made traditions? We must  make a difference. We must not accept  “We’ve never done it that way before;” that mentality will kill our church.

3. We must abandon the entitlement mentality. We must not only be willing to give of our time to attend church. We must be willing to call, visit, pray, guard our speech, and be encouragers.  If someone speaks against our church family we must show displeasure toward their action.

I ask you to pray a simple prayer, ask God to give you witnessing opportunities. You may be surprised how He will use you.

4. We must understand “Discipleship” does not mean caretaking and “Fellowship” does not mean entertainment.

5. We must stop shooting our own. This tragedy is related to the entitlement mentality. If we don’t get our way, we will go after the pastor, or the church member who has a different perspective than our own.  Don’t let disgruntled members and perpetual critics control the church. Don’t shoot our own.

6. Business, finance, and some meetings are needed, but we must stop wasting time in unproductive meetings, committees, and business. Wouldn’t it be nice if every church member could only ask one question or make one comment in a meeting for every time he or she has witnessed during the week of said meeting.

7. Our church must be a houses of prayer. We are  doing too much in our own power. We are really busy, but we are not doing the business of God.

Around 200 churches will close their doors this week. We must make some necessary changes.  For many of your churches the choice is simple: change or die.

Please, for the sake of the gospel, will you forsake yourself and make the changes in God’s power.

Tony Kelly, Pastor