Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Shepastor: "Lessons from Trees..."

Psalm 92: 12-15, NIV

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”


“I think that I shall never see
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”

-Joyce Kilmer, 1913

Trees are spoken of many times in Scripture

The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden
The Juniper Tree that Elijah ran and sat under when he was depressed
The Tree upon which Absalom’s hair became caught in the thicket
The Tree that bears fruit
The Tree that Jesus cursed
The Tree of Life

Scripture uses trees to teach us many lessons. But in our particular text for today, the Psalmist lifts up two trees:
The Palm Tree
The Cedars of Lebanon

The Psalmist said that the righteous shall flourish like a Palm Tree. What is so special about a Palm Tree?
- Palm Trees are tall, majestic and beautiful
- Palm Trees are resilient. They flourish even in drought because of their deep root system
- Palm Trees are able to withstand hurricanes and massive storms because they know how to bend

The Psalmist also likened the righteous unto the Cedars of Lebanon.
-The Cedars of Lebanon stood 120 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
-They were firmly rooted and were very strong. They were so high that they could see far above the city out into distant lands. The Psalmist said that the righteous, like the Cedars of Lebanon are firmly planted and they flourish in the courts of the Lord. They continue to bear fruit even in their old age. They stay fresh and green.

Sometimes we have to be like Palm Trees, getting our thirst quenched by our deep root systems. During times of spiritual drought, our “roots” must be deep…deep enough to help us to reach the living water of hope in Christ, resilient through adversity, encouraged by remembering those who have gone before us…Like a palm tree, we must learn how to be flexible. There are times when we must learn how to bend down and be humble. We must bend, but not break during the storm.

Sometimes we’ve got to be like the Cedars of Lebanon. Sometimes we must stand firm, stand tall and stand strong. We’ve got to learn how to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, in as much as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.

We’ve got to stand tall and stand strong. In order to do that, we must be firmly planted in the courts of the Lord. The courts of the Lord, the house of the Lord, the ways of the Lord, the Word of the Lord. is In Psalm 1, the righteous are described as “blessed…” not walking in the council of the ungodly, or standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of the scornful.” The righteous delight in the law of the Lord and meditate upon it both day and night. This behavior makes them like “a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Their leaves don’t whither and whatever they do shall prosper. Conversely, the ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drive the away...”

The Lord is looking for those who will be like trees, Palm Trees, Cedars of Lebanon who know how to be resilient through Christ, who know how to bend and be flexible, but also who know how and when to stand tall, stand firm and will not move.

Over two thousand years ago, there was another tree. Jesus was crucified on that tree and died for all of our sins. He went through the agony, the separation from his Father, the shame and the blame. He went all of that so that we might have a right to the tree of life. We all will one day leave this earth, and give an account of the things we have done in this body. The most important this will be whether or not we accepted Christ as our Savior and embraced the lessons of trees…

Post a comment or send me an email at

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Shepastor: “Revisiting Prayers for Our Communities, Nation and World...”

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. II Chronicles 7:14, KJV

…For the families and loved ones of individuals killed for any reason
…For a shift from an ever increasing irreverent, insensitive and violent atmosphere to one of health, understanding, peace and love
…For our children who are confused about right and wrong in this season
…For the changing of unjust systems that continue to oppress, disenfranchise and marginalize
…For The Church to open doors for men and women to serve equally
…For national and international missionaries as they carry the good news of Jesus Christ to “the uttermost parts of the world”
…For our armed service men and women as they work hard to protect our Nation and world
…For “Black Lives” and “Blue Lives” for healing, justice and “the common good”
…For the impoverished, abused, neglected, forgotten
…For our upcoming Presidential, State and Local elections
...For Families at the border, children and parents who are being ripped apart and being treated inhumanely
...For our current president to reconsider and reverse his stance on using defenseless children as pawns to “build a wall...”

Hear our prayers Oh Lord, incline thine ear to us and grant us thy peace…

Post a comment or send me an email at
Until next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Shepastor: "The Blessing of Refreshers..."

15 You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
2nd Timothy 1: 15-18

From beverages to skin products and vacations, “refreshers” are in high demand! When people are feeling heavy (in body, mind or spirit), hot and bothered, or down, things that refresh are welcomed in. Even computers have a “refresh” mechanism to re-start or do- over the page.

Refreshments quench thirst, uplift, boost and revive. Refreshments can help to push the “re-set” button when things go awry. Refreshments enhance life. After mentioning “Phygelus and Hermongenes,” two men who apparently deserted Paul at a time when he needed them most, he goes on to talk about “Onesiphorus,” who “often refreshed” Paul and was not ashamed of his chains. Furthermore, Onesiphorus “searched hard” for Paul until he found him. He helped Paul in many ways (2nd Timothy 1: 16-18).

Many pastors have had their share of individuals who like “Phygelus and Hermogenes” have deserted them right when they were most needed. Many, however, have not experienced “Onesiphorus…” a “refresher.” Could that be why so many pastors experience burnout, depression, thoughts of leaving the ministry, poor health and family struggles?

Each pastor needs at least one refresher in the ministry where they serve…someone who pays attention to “where they are.” In other words, someone who is sensitive to their need for rest, encouragement and support. The size of the church does not matter. Whether large, mid-sized or small, the work of the pastor is a difficult task.

Don’t wait until “pastor appreciation month” to bless and encourage your pastor. Ask the Lord to help you to be a refresher…one who is sensitive to the pastor’s human condition. Pay attention to things that need to be done around the church and/or within the ministry. Don’t wait to be asked to help. Can you help clean the building? Can you call and encourage those who are sick and shut in? Can you offer to take the pastor on pastoral visits so that they don’t have to drive? Can you help out in the office by sorting files or answering the phone or offering some other kind of assistance? Does the pastor have to ask you two or more times to complete tasks that you have agreed to do? What can you do to help lighten the pastor’s load?

How can you be a refresher? Ask the Lord to use you to help and refresh your leadership today.

Post a comment or send me an email at

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

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shepastor: “Suicide is NEVER the right option…”

5 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. II Corinthians 5:1, KJV

This week the world lost a great, creative, innovative and beautiful woman, in the person of Kate Spade. Her iconic hand bags were worn by women world-wide…classy, simple, timeless. It would appear that she had it all – fame, finances, family. We don’t know what drove her to take her own life. We just don’t know.

In light of this tragedy, it is important for us to think about the painful reality of suicide. Many are walking around filled with pain, sorrow, depression, melancholia, mental and physical maladies that press people to believe that the only way out is to leave the world. Suicide is a lie from the pit of Hell! In addition to the pain and agony that taking your life causes those who love and cherish you (yes, you are loved and cherished whether you believe it or not), the bitter irony is that the body dies, but the soul lives on. The body may die, but the soul is everlasting. The body returns to dust. The soul returns to God.

Suicide strips you of the ability to do anything. Suicide, contrary to the lies of the enemy, will not produce peace…only pain, agony and frustration for everyone involved. Suicide IS NEVER THE ANSWER, THE OPTION, THE WAY OF ESCAPE. Choose life.

May we share love, encouragement, support and prayer generously.
If you think of someone, pray for them. If someone is on your heart, if possible, call them. Let people know how much they mean to you and to others. Dowse the negativity. People get enough of that daily! Accentuate the positive. Show love, give love, be love. You never know who is just one step away from stepping into the abyss…

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
“We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.” (retrieved from )

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