Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Leaving a Spiritual Footprint

My story: It was a clear and cool morning, the sun was up and I had just finished reviewing my Sunday morning message. I was excited and yet a little anxious because I was beginning a new short series titled, “Your Partnership in the Gospel,” based on Philippians 1:3-6. The focus would be, “The Gospel: The Reason we Exist.” It’s a series that would help all who gather with us for worship to know what we believe and why. It would help them understand who we are and why we are here. So I went down to unlock the trailer which was backed up to the garage so I could load the keyboard and a few other things and then head to the community center to set up for worship. As I walked around the side of the trailer my eyes were drawn to scattered trash and a turned over trash container. A trash bag had been torn open and some trash spread down an unmarked path among the trees. I had seen this type of devastation before and knew immediately what had happened. About five years ago while sitting at my desk in the office at 4:00 am (I couldn’t sleep) I heard a noise, outside in the drive. The motion light had come on and there was a bear dragging a bag of trash toward the trees. Not finding much to eat, the bear exited into the dark night. Oh yes… I knew the tragedy of an attack on a trash container and the scattered trash as tell tale evidence that a bear had visited us again. I approached the scene of the crime closely scanning the area to make sure our “visitor” had left. I slowly surveyed the ground looking for signs that the perpetrator had in fact done the dirty deed. Then I saw it, a paw print. It was about 4-5 inches across indicating that a small bear with a dumpster diving appetite had left his mark.

The evidence did not lie. As I have thought about that paw print and the evidence that proved that a bear (presently unidentified) had visited us, I thought about what evidence and what “foot print” we as believers make in our community. I am not suggesting that we leave trash spread around that annoys other people, but that we hopefully leave a positive imprint that brings joy and thanksgiving to our community. Forensic investigators will tell you that you leave evidence of your physical presence everywhere you go; a hair (for most people), skin cells, finger prints and other DNA that can be traced back to you as a totally uniquely designed and special person. As a Christian we not only have our “creative DNA” which is unique to individuals but also a “spiritual DNA” which is traced to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. Everywhere we go and everything we do should leave evidence of His presence having been where our feet have trod, where our hands have served and where His words have been shared. Consider what footprint you leave for Jesus as you go about your daily activities and interact with those you encounter. Have a great week, God bless - PJ

Monday, June 28, 2010


    I don't know about you but I am really upset that we have a president and vice-president who seem to think that using profanity is OK in a public forum! Understand that my feelings on this subject have nothing to do with which party our president or vice-president represent. This has to do with character. This has to do with responsibility and leadership. Many people have no problem using or hearing profanity. Many adults use profanity and then are angered that children use it as well. I have seen parents cuss each other then yell at their children for using the same language, how hypocritical! Unfortunately, there are even many believers in Jesus Christ who use profanity and somehow justify it for themselves. There are thousands of words in the English language and it seems that too many people have regulated theirs to a small group of words which are vulgar and profane!

For some reason we have elected officials who think that profanity helps emphasize their anger toward something or someone. It's bad leadership, it's a bad example and it doesn't teach our children anything but disrespect for others. Disrespect for parents, for our civil leaders and for those in authority is a growing problem in our society and the use of profanity just makes that problem worse. It’s no wonder teachers don’t get respect from their students and parents don’t get respect from their children. . If respect isn’t modeled at home it won’t be evident away from the home.

Psalm 19:14 is a really wonderful verse to remember and pray each day: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” As followers of Jesus Christ our actions and our words are to be a testimony of His presence in our lives. Our words need to be carefully thought out before we speak them. Ugly, profane and disrespectful words are not to be part of our vocabulary if we are to truly represent our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God bless – Pastor John

Monday, February 8, 2010

Death, The Catalyst for the Church

"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea nd Samaria."  Acts 8:1b

It's snowing again and... well... I love the snow and the moisture it brings but it is quite cold.  One of the reasons I love New Mexico is that we get to have the four seasons.  I like the spring because it is new and fresh, things grow, trees get their leaves and flowers their pedals.  I like the summer because it is warm and the summer skies are beautiful. I like the fall because of the changing colors of the leaves and the cool freshness in the air and I like the winter because of the beauty of the snow.  Even in the winter here in New Mexico we can ski in the morning, play golf in the afternoon and watch a gorgeous sunset in the evening. It's a great place to live!

A lot of people don’t like the idea of things changing in their lives. Once they get used to something they like the security of it staying the way it is. For some it is the fear of the unknown and for others it may be the comfort of the past. I know that for years and years Trudy and I would go out to eat somewhere, especially places I had been before, and I would order the exact same thing over and over again. Why? I knew what I was getting and liked it and I didn’t need to try anything else. For some reason, as I have gotten older and at the encouragement of Trudy, I began to try different things and “venture” out into new culinary experiences. I discovered that I really liked trying some new things and have expanded my menu choices.

It is quite easy for followers of Christ to get comfortable in their spiritual lives and not want to venture beyond what their past and present commitments are. Often even an exciting and growing church can steadily work its way into a rut that slowly keeps getting deeper. Someone once said that when you’re in a rut long enough it becomes a grave. I think that is probably true.

Getting too comfortable was not a problem in the early church, not because it was so intentional in avoiding it but because God didn’t allow time for it to happen. The “gospel train” needed to keep moving. The huge impact of the preaching of the apostles and disciples in Jerusalem had touch the lives of thousands while, at the same time, infuriating the religious hierarchy. The result was that a “check mark” was put beside the first goal of the great commission, Jerusalem had received the gospel.

The catalyst that would move the gospel further into Judea, Samaria and the ends of the world would come through a totally unexpected event… the stoning of Stephen. Those who opposed the gospel might have thought that his death would stop the others from preaching Jesus, instead it scattered the body of Christ so that it would exponentially increase the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ. I love how God took the death of His saint Stephen and energized the body of believers to move forward and outward with confidence.

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? Do you ever feel like the rut is slowly getting deeper and deeper? Do you ever desire in your heart to move out of or even climb out of that rut? I want you to know that the Lord Jesus wants you out of that rut as well. He challenges us to move out of our comfort zone, to move away from the self-imposed sense of security we live in and join Him in His plan of touch lives for Christ.

As we study Acts chapter eight we will see the impact of Stephen’s death on the church and begin to look at another man who had been chosen to serve in the church, Philip, and how God used him as he moved forward with the gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord richly bless you!  – Pastor John