Christianity offers a view of God that is strikingly different from any other. In Christianity, there is one God. He is all-powerful. He takes an active role as father to every human being. His most striking feature is not anger or power or transcendence or even creativity but instead is his relentless, all-consuming love. No one would have ever made up such a God. The idea is too outrageous.

Kyle Idleman – gods at war

Hunter Pence & Christians

A few days ago I was watching the Atlanta Braves play the San Francisco Giants. As the batter approached the plate, the announcers say,

And here is Hunter Pence. You talk about a different type of player than most major leaguers!

Hunter Pence

That caught my ear. Why would someone make such a bold statement like that. Was he the best player in the majors? Did the Giants win every game that he played in? Did he lead the majors in home runs, RBI’s, triples, doubles and singles?

Did he catch everything that came to him in the outfield? Was he able to beat the other team just by himself?

Of course not. In fact, he does not lead the league in any of the above mentioned categories. Nor would he be able to beat a team all by him.

So, what made the announce say that he was just a different type of player than most major leaguers?

It is a very simple word: PASSION!

If you have ever watched Hunter Pence play, you know that he loves, and I mean loves, the game of baseball. He hustles on every play and he gives his 100% best every time he steps foot on the field. His passion for the game is so much so that it overflows onto the field and people can see a difference in him.

My pastor is currently going through a series on the book of Revelation and I could not help but recall the verse in Revelation 2:4 that says, “but I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first”. Paul was talking to the church at Ephesus and had just commended them for being a serving church, a sacrificial church, a steadfast church and a suffering church.

Warren Wiersbe says the following about the church of Ephesus,

No matter how you examine this congregation, you conclude that it is just about perfect. However, the One among the lampstands saw into their hearts, and HE had a different diagnosis from ours.

This “perfect” church on the outside had lost its “first love” for Christ! They had lost their passion for Christ. They were just going through the motions. Wiersbe says that “first love” can be described as,

…the devotion to Christ that so often characterizes the new believer: fervent, personal, uninhibited, excited and openly displayed.

Are you just going through the motions of being a Christian?

You may never get the chance to walk up to a batters box and be introduced on TV. You may never get the chance for someone to announce to a huge viewing audience that “this is one player that is just different”. But, how do the people around you see you? Do they see you as just another church person who is doing what they are supposed to be doing (outward appearance) or do they see something that makes them say, “Wow, something is different with that person!”.

As Christians, we should be, not just look, different from this world!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – II Peter 2:9

Children & Christmas Programs

Peanut butter and jelly… Abbott & Costello… Bacon and Eggs! There are a lot of things that go together perfectly, but nothing as much as children & Christmas programs!

I found this video today of the Wee Praize & Elementary choirs from my church and just has to share. Two reasons: 1.) There is a great message in this video and 2.) My daughter is the little girl with the upside down “M”. (Watch the video to find out why it is upside down!)

Please enjoy “Christmas Love”!

I’m Suppose to Love THEM?

We all know who “them” are! We all have “them” in our lives – whether we want them there or not! No, I’m not talking about your in-laws, they are our enemies.

They are the people who cures us, persecute us and when it comes right down to it – they hate us!

This past Sunday in our children’s ministry, I talked to the kids about Matthew 5:43-44:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

We played a game called “Name that Villain” and I had different Disney characters that had a villain or enemy that they were facing. In each and everyone of the movies, the villain did not like the main character at all.

  • Scar (The Lion King) tried to kill Symba
  • Jafar (Alladin) tried to get rid of Alladin so he could marry the princess and take over the kingdom
  • Lotso (Toy Story 3) tried to keep Woody and Buzzlighter (and the gang) in the room where they were treated bad by the small children
  • Cruella D Vil (101 Dalmations) simply wanted to turn the little puppies into a fur coat

So, who is your Scar, your Jafar, Lotso or even your Cruella D Vil? Who is that person that just gets under your skin because of the way they treat you. Who is that person that  is always rude to you and you just want to make a fist and deposit it into their face?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 5, that we are to love our enemies and then pray for them!

WHAT? I can hear the excuses that are coming out of my head as I write this, “but Jesus, you just don’t understand what this person has done to me”; “there is no way in the world that I could pray for them, much less love them”; or “not even Jesus could love this person!”.

Jesus did not give us a list of qualifications for us to look at in order for us to see if we should love our enemies or not. He did not write out and say, “Well, if this person treated you THAT way, then you don’t have to love or pray for them”. No, Jesus simply said for us to LOVE OUR ENEMIES AND PRAY FOR THEM!

Warren Wiersbe points out three things in the following verses:

  1. This love is a mark of our maturity – it proves if we are “sons and daughters of the Father” (v.45)
  2. It is Godlike (Romans 5:10) God loved us when we were his enemies
  3. It is a testimony to others – as Christians, God expects us to live on a much higher plane than the lost of this world

So, can you see your “them” in your head? The next time you run into them, love them. The next time they persecute you or curse at you, love them. The next time they treat you bad or make fun of you, love them.

Love them and pray for them, that is what God did for you because he wanted to see you as His child.