Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Shepastor: “Who do YOU Say I Am???”

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Matthew 16:13-20 New International Version (NIV)

During my morning devotion the other day, just as I was about to close my Bible, it fell open to this very familiar passage of Scripture. That day, however, the words, “Who do YOU say I am?” jumped off of the page and into my spirit! We know the story. Jesus is questioning his disciples about the messages from “the people…” their perceptions, views, beliefs about who he is. Jesus already knew their thoughts. He also knew the thoughts of the disciples. But by questioning them directly, Jesus forced them to stop and consider exactly what they believed about him.

On that particular day, I was wrestling with some internal thoughts, anxieties, fears and frustrations over various challenges. I have to be intentional about taking control of every thought and bringing them into subjection! But as I prepared to close my Bible, the Holy Spirit (I believe) caused the pages to fall open to those simple words, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Suddenly, I felt peace. Why? Simply because I believe that Jesus is LORD! The term “Lord” means, “Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler” ( Since I believe that Jesus has ALL POWER, authority and influence, since I claim Jesus as MY LORD and since I believe that He is master and ruler over ALL, I can trust Him completely to walk with me through my “stuff!” I trust Jesus to be the LORD in MY LIFE over every situation, circumstance, lack, mean spirit, enemy, unjust situation, gossiping tongue, illness, challenge and struggle!

If you are troubled, burdened, weary, fearful, doubtful, ill, lonely, broken, etc., stop and ask yourself, “Who do I say Jesus is?” When you, by faith stand upon Jesus’ identity as Lord, you will conquer ALL of the oppressive tactics of the enemy. Allow the Lordship of Jesus to comfort, strengthen, guide, encourage, bless and reassure you today.

Who do I say that Jesus is? HE IS LORD!!!

Post a comment or send me an email at

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Shepastor: “Is Your Heart After God?”

Psalm 42[a][b]
For the director of music. A maskil[c] of the Sons of Korah.

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
42 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (KJV)

One of the most beloved praise and worship songs used for meditation, As the Deer, is taken from this Old Testament Psalm, 42: 1-2. The words depict a gentle creature, a deer, possibly after a long journey, leaping upon mountains, traveling through valleys, walking along through pastures, tired, longing to drink from a fresh water stream. The King James Version emphasizes even more graphically, the thirst that the deer has, “panting” as if exhausted, drained, “thirsty.” Both convey a strong almost desperate desire for God.

An interesting commentary or introduction provides even greater context to this psalm. It says, “For the director of music” or “chief musician. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.” The term maskil means, “one versed in Hebrew or Yiddish literature,” (Merriam Webster). Not to be taken lightly, these “well versed” musicians came from a rebellious family line. They were the “Sons of Korah.” Korah was the ring leader of Israelites (one version calls them “men of renown”) who defied God and Moses in the wilderness, leading many astray (Genesis 16: 1-35). Their rebellion caused them to be swallowed up by the earth suddenly (Who can forget that dramatic scene as depicted by Cecil Be Demille’s “Ten Commandments!”).

How profound that God used a remnant from that rebellious family line to bring Himself glory through this beloved Psalm! Knowing their own history, knowing the shame of rebellion in their bloodline, knowing how an entire generation was destroyed, they chose rather to have hearts that longed for God. How powerful to know and learn from our history? What a loving and gracious God that will not hold the sins of our family line against us! What a blessing and privilege to know that with God’s help, we have the ability to change the dynamic of rebellion and dysfunction in our families!

But it starts with having a heart that is “after God.” A heart that is after God thirsts for God, longs for God, chases after God’s heart, God’s will, God’s wisdom, God’s Holy Spirit, God’s desire for our lives. To be a man or a woman after God’s heart is to love the Lord, reverence the Lord, honor the Lord with the totality of our being. It does not mean that we won’t make mistakes, make bad choices, do wrong things. We hold this treasure in “earthen vessels.” But it means that our desire and longing is to please God. Our heart longs to be united with God. Our heart longs to have pure motives a clean spirit.

None of this is possible without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, we can do all things! When we long for God, thirst for God, “pant” for God, we come into agreement with Him. We seek to do His will. We strive to have clean hands and a pure heart. We desire to please God in all that we are, say and do. When we fall short, we repent and lean upon God’s mercy, grace and love to help us to do better. David was a man after God’s own heart not because he was perfect, but because he was yielded. He longed to do that which pleased the Lord. He worshipped the Lord with all of his might. He grieved over his sins and turned away from them.

The Sons of Korah chose the more excellent way. Despite their family dysfunction and rebellion, they chose to have hearts after God. Is your heart after God?

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Shepastor: “Healing Comes in Phases”

Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go intoa the village.”

The body is a wonderful metaphor for so many issues of life. Whether it is issues of cleansing, growth, physical illness and the need to regurgitate, rest etc., the body also reflects important and spiritual realities. Today I’d like to focus upon the healing aspects of the body and how the body can teach us something about emotional and spiritual healing.

Healing does not happen immediately. Whether it’s a cut, a bruise, surgical procedure or whatever, the body takes time to heal. Although science has tried to speed up the healing process with laser surgery, the body still demands a time for healing. Although they have “outpatient” surgery, the body demands that you get rest after even the smallest procedures. Even if you get cut and require stitches, the body demands that you take time to “dress” and care for your wounds. Why is it that we think that emotional and spiritual pain can be healed over night?

I would like to suggest that many of the physical pains that we experience pale in comparison to the emotional and spiritual pain that many people face. Think about our grief policies from work. You are blessed if you can get 2-3 days off of work when a loved one dies. The Jewish Community has this process right. They sit, “Shiva” for at least 7 days and in some instances 12 days. They allow themselves to deeply mourn and reflect upon the life and the legacy of their loved ones. They bury them almost immediately, but they reflect upon them deeply and slowly.

Our society, however, frowns upon individuals taking time to heal. Even in the church, we expect people to quickly rebound from loss, hurt and pain. We accuse people of “brooding” or not having enough faith. Where does this “hurry up and get through it” mentality come from? Jesus himself exemplified the need to spend time away from even those closest to him. Frequently he would go off by himself, the scripture says to pray. I suspect that Jesus was not only praying, but reflecting, communing, consoling and preparing himself to continue to serve amidst a people who did not understand, believe in or appreciate him. Jesus too was hurting.

Our text for today presents an interesting dilemma. Jesus who is God made manifest in the flesh seemed to have needed a “second shot” at healing the blind man. It appears that his first attempt “did not take.” But was it that he needed to try again or was Jesus teaching us something all together different?

Consider the following…

- A blind man is brought to Jesus

- Jesus uses “spit” to heal him

- His healing came in two phases

- Sometimes we need a “second touch” before our healing is complete

- We don’t understand the methods God uses to heal us

- We need to be honest about the fact that we still are not healed – still cannot see (had the blind man pretended like he was healed
completely, he never would have been given clear sight)

- “Don’t even go into the village…” Everyone will not be happy about your healing! Everyone will not understand your healing. You may
even jeopardize your healing by sharing it with some people.
Sometimes God has to "take us outside of the village" to bless us with healing.

- Healing takes time

Healing comes in phases
. God may sometimes use “spit and dirt” to heal us…sometimes the very things that we, under other circumstances would view as lowly and undesirable are used by God to make us see more clearly and yes, heal us.

Everyone will not understand what God has done and continues to do for you. Be prayerful and discerning about with whom to share your healing process. Avoid pretending that you are well, that you are whole, that you are healed when in fact you are still, “seeing men walking as trees.” Be honest with the Lord, yourself and select individuals about needing prayer, support and encouragement to press toward your healing.

Healing comes in phases. Healing takes time. Healing may happen in unexpected ways. Be “for real” about where you are in the healing process. Then and only then will you be able to see clearly and be made whole. Remember, healing takes time. There is no shame in admitting that you need a second touch!

Post a comment or send me an email at

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