Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Shepastor: "What's Your New Life Resolution in 2017?"

Back in 2012, I shared this blog entitled, “What Is Your New Life Resolution…”

As we approach 2017, I thought the question was still worth asking…

Shepastor: “What’s Your New Life Resolution in 2017?”

Text: Philippians 3: 12-14 (KJV)

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Every year between December 31st and January 1st, people make all kind of promises to themselves and to others. We call these promises – “resolutions.” The idea is that the old year for better or for worse is gone and is not coming back – so in the new year, we hope to do somethings better, or at least differently.

You’ve heard them, “I’m going to lose weight…, I’m going to stop cursing…, I’m going to stop smoking…, I’m going to save more money…, I’m going to stop using credit cards…” The list goes on and on.

But today, I’d like to challenge us not to think about making meaningless promises that most times we fail to keep. I’d like to challenge you to prayerfully consider making a “New Life Resolution.”

There is a difference between changing a habit and changing your life. Even dieticians and physicians have come to the conclusion that if you really want to loose weight, you can’t just create a list of things you determine that you will give up. Human nature dictates that after a while, the feeling of self -deprivation will take over and you will return to old habits of eating things you shouldn’t. Therefore, they say, a life change – in other words, a change of thought, a change of heart, a change of resolve has to take place in order for real results to happen and be long term.

So it is with our spiritual walk with Christ. Being a Christian is more than giving up the seven deadly sins…Lust, envy, gluttony, sloth, greed, anger and pride. Some stricter traditions have added a few more…drinking, smoking, playing cards, dancing, poppin fingers, wearing makeup and going out to parties!

The problem with both lists is that those efforts may control some external behaviors, but the human will can never change the human heart. In order to truly change, a spiritual transformation has to take place. This is not some mystical, secretive process whereby a person has to say chants or drink a potion or have a witch doctor shake some special formula with smoke over your head. No no!

What is required is Holy Ghost transformation – the kind of transformation that changes your life when you have an encounter with God.

Yes, even those who minister and preach the Gospel need to have transforming experiences – fresh encounters with God.

In 2017, the Lord is saying to somebody, “I’ve got some blessings for you, but in order for you to receive those blessings, you’ve got to let some things go. That fear that has been controlling you – let it go. That anger that has been consuming you – let it go. That resentment that has been eating your insides apart – let it go. That worry that has been keeping you up at night – let it go.

The Lord is saying, “I’ve got some blessings for you... I’ve got peace for you, I’ve got deliverance for you, I’ve got overcoming power for you, but you’ve got to let some things go!

Don’t let the demons of fear, of worry, of self-doubt, of low self-esteem, of old belittling voices in your head, of resentment, anger, hostility and yes even hatred – don’t let those demons keep you shackled. As you enter 2017 let it go. Don’t be like the children of Israel who wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they kept looking back and couldn’t believe God for what they could not see. Step out on faith –ask the Lord to reveal his will and purpose for you life and then pursue it.

Pastor and author Bill Hybel says,
“You will never take big hills without making bold moves”

Letting go of what has held you back, held you down, kept you imprisoned is not always easy – it takes the bold move of faith to let it go, trust God, resolve to live for Him in every way. It’s a new path, a fresh encounter, a prayerful journey, a new way of living.

Be bold and walk with your head held high, press towards the mark that God has ordained for your life.

To all Shepastor readers – may you walk into this New Year resolving to allow the Lord to order your steps, free you from whatever chains may bind you and bless you beyond what is readily recognizable in your eyes.

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until Next Wednesday
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shepastor: "Are You On The Same Page With God?..."

3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3, KJV

You are where you are. There are things you may or may not be able to change, but at this particular point in time THIS is your reality. Something that you can do is to get on the same page with God.

Our lives are like a book. Sometimes we try to turn back the pages of time because we liked a previous chapter…sometimes we want to linger in a chapter that contains the script of our pain and disappointment…sometimes we just want to return to a chapter that is comfortable and familiar. But in your life, God is not currently in that chapter or on that page. God is on the page of TODAY.

Sometimes we try to jump to a future chapter to “read” the outcome of our current situation. But God is not currently in that chapter or on that page. God is on the page of TODAY. God is not limited by time and space. God has been with us in our past and will be with us in our future. However, God calls us to “get on the same page” with Him TODAY. On today’s page are opportunities for us to receive and learn lessons pertinent to this season of our lives. Human nature tempts us to take “head trips” backwards and forwards, particularly when the NOW is less than appetizing. But God is calling us to focus on the page we are currently on. No matter how difficult, boring, challenging, hurtful or suspense-filled today’s page is, God is with you in the moment. Yes, even on this page, God’s wisdom, blessings and guidance are present.

As the song writer wisely wrote…

One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I’m asking from you
Give me the strength to do everyday what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine
So for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time.

By God’s grace and strength, daily seek to be on God’s page and not some other page in your life’s book.

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May you and yours have a peaceful, joy-filled and blessed Christmas.

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Shepastor: "Going Beyond the Call of the Required..."

46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5: 46-48

Recently I participated in the installation service of a colleague at a local church. The guest speaker gave an intriguing message entitled, “The Glory of the Unrequired.” The thrust of his message was to encourage the newly installed pastor to avoid the “do only the required” mentality. He suggested that in every way, God went beyond what was required in creation of the world, in creation of humanity and certainly in His lavish love, mercy and grace for us exemplified by the sacrifice of His only Son.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus admonishes his followers to go beyond the “required.” We are not required to love those who don’t love us. But our faith calls us to show love, mercy and grace to the un-loveable. We are not required to show hospitality and kindness to those we don’t know, but our faith calls us to reach out and show compassion and kindness to those we don’t know.

Particularly in this difficult and divided climate in our Nation, God is calling the Church to go beyond the required. We have a marvelous opportunity to show what God’s love truly looks like. We have the opportunity to show mercy to the foreigner (literally), to stand up for the rights of those we may not even know, and to go the extra mile of the way to show a willingness to “hear” those who may have misused us.

Going beyond what is required is not easy. But living out true greatness never is. God’s people are peculiar, royal and priestly. May we, by faith, walk boldly in that peculiarity today.

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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shepastor: "During This Season, Remember Those Who Weep..."

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12: 15 ESV

“Sleigh bells ringing…” Christmas lights flashing, choirs singing, shoppers shopping…gift wrapping, mistletoe, holiday parties and special gatherings all signal that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year…” but for many, it is not.

For some reason, it seems that the “death angel” gets especially busy around this time of year. Inevitably, some heart is broken due to the loss of a loved one between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. As a result, this period of time forever marks not joy and laughter, but for some, unbearable grief, sorrow and pain.

Others are fighting depression due to the drastic changes in the weather and SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) from sunny, warm and bright to gloomy, cold and dark. Others are struggling to explain to bright eyed children filled with hope and anticipation that gifts will not be under the tree this year because of major financial difficulties.

Yes, as the people of God, we understand, acknowledge and rejoice that the true meaning of Christmas is wrapped up in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ... the ultimate reason for our hope, joy, peace and love in this season.

But as human beings who “hold this treasure in earthen vessels,” our shouts of praise can be muted by our grief entangled spirits. Having said that, here are a few things to remember and do to help those who are struggling…

- Be intentional about comforting those who mourn…Give them a phone call, give them the gift of your presence, take them a gift that will hold special significance for them

- Allow them to express their emotions openly and confidentially with you, without judgement…Avoid cutting them off with trite “Christian phrases,” such as, “Honey, just give it to the Lord, He understands. Stop dwelling on it so much…” Shutting them down only causes more pain

- Gently encourage them to go out and then go and get them…It may be difficult for them to get out of the house on their own. However, if a loving friend goes over to pick them up and take them out for coffee, it may make the journey a bit less intimidating.

- Ask them to tell you how to pray for them and then pray for them! Don’t assume you know what they need. Offer them the opportunity to express their prayer requests and then pray right then and there with them. Show them that you have confidence in the “effectual fervent prayer of the righteous.” On the spot prayer can speak to and strengthen their heart at a time when they may need it most. This also prevents us from going our way and forgetting to do what we’ve promised.

- Finally, remember that your love and support can help holiday mourners to see the light at the end of the tunnel…Just knowing that someone genuinely cares can help to lift broken hearts and give them the companionship needed to take another step towards healing.

May we truly give the gift of Christ’s love during this season with compassion, friendship and our presence to those who need it most.

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris