Friday, March 21, 2014

Some thoughts on the passing of Fred Phelps...

When you hear the name, Fred Phelps, I'm sure you and I may cringe - we cringe because it brings to mind the hate he and his cult followers spewed toward pretty much anyone and everyone under the sun as part of the "Westboro Baptist Church".  

Now, as the news of his passing spreads - some may be rejoicing or in turn be spreading hateful or mocking words? Or some may simply not care as he's not an athlete or celebrity or someone you know? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about his passing. Why? Because as much as I couldn't stomach his vehement hate and false gospel and message, it saddens me that he was obviously such a mixed up tormented and lost soul who was not only misguiding himself and living in opposition to Jesus' teachings, Fred was also leading multiple people astray along with him...even little children. This is sad! It grieves me a lot to think of this.

The life he "lived" was very sad if you think about it. How could someone choose to live this way?...and how could someone choose to take the truth of God's Word and twist it so badly and do so much to completely smear the name of Jesus Christ...the one Fred Phelps says he followed... To say the least, his life and the legacy he lived and left behind is one I believe of dishonor. In addition...you and I know that most likely one of his family will follow in his twisted footsteps and continue the hate train all over the place including the web. I pray that somehow this stops!

Personally I think his death shouldn't be a time of rejoicing rather, it should be sobering to all of us in that someone could have the capacity to go so far down the road of hate and die that way...let's not not fall into this same trap. Also, we have to realized that it's OK if we disagree on things as long as we communicate and behave in love instead of hate and cause further strife for everyone around us.  Speak the truth in love. This world is a dark enough place by itself sometimes and we don't need to add to it with hate and false teaching and a lack of of love! Honestly I pity what he was and what lies ahead for him in the next life.

Let us be people of honor and integrity! Let's seek to be honorable in everything you do. Let's not return evil for evil. Let's not be remotely like the Westboro people. Let's live and leave a legacy that we, our family, our friends can be proud of and honors them! Most of all lets live and leave a legacy that points to God and may we ultimately please Him regarding how we live - may be seek to please and honor Him above anything and anyone else. Even if you read this and have don't have and trust in God, from my heart to yours may you #1 seek to understand Who He is and the free gift He as for you and #2 may you also seek to live a honorable life in everything you do!

God is a loving and righteous God and may we all understand that we're all accountable for the life we live...and I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to be Fred Phelps as he stands before God to account for what He did do and didn't do and how lived his life...and how he led people astray...very sobering indeed.

Speaking of accountability, we're also accountable day to day for our behavior, at work, at home and everywhere we are...let's do the right things and live honorably no matter where we are!

Instead of "hating them back"...which would be ridiculous...let's instead pray for those misguided Phelps followers that they'd see the truth and that they'd repent of the error or their ways. Let's somehow reach out to them to show them true love instead of hate. May they truly be set free from the bondage they've chosen to be under after following Fred Phelps for many years! May they find true freedom as these chains are broken by a God who truly loves them completely and wants them to experience His love and forgiveness.  

Let's not forget to pray for each other daily that we'd be living rightly and doing the right things at the right time and for the right reasons. Let's pray that we won't be making life miserable for others by our actions either.

There's more I could share as I process this and many other things of late but hopefully we all have something more to chew on in our thoughts and in evaluation of how we're presently living to consider going forward. Hopefully something I've shared from my heart here provides some take-a-ways for all of us. :-)

All the best,

rlk

P.S. Here's an article that I thought shared some good thoughts on his passing as well:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fred-phelps-preached-hate-but-his-death-is-no-reason-to-celebrate/2014/03/20/0fd06408-b050-11e3-95e8-39bef8e9a48b_story.html

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The "Here we GROW again" times...


When things are tough - whether it's in times of trial or when I go through a time where I feel very stretched, I refer to these times as the "Here we GROW again times" instead of the "Here we GO again times"...

We all know that Life is full of these times and these are very hard times but we can either choose to look at them as something that will inevitably work something good in and through our lives - make us stronger... or we can see them as see them as "the sky is falling" and "I'm never going to make it through this time"... 


To be real, when we go through things, it's hard not to have a first reaction of the more negative spin because what we're going through is real and raw but, during these times may we pause for a moment, collect our thoughts, emotions, and maybe our sanity too (LOL) and be encouraged and realize that we will make it through each battle of life as we press forward and come out the other side stronger because of what we just went through. 

Something to think about for when the next "Here we GROW again" time comes your way.

Blessings,

rlk


#lifeexperiencereflection

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Even if you’re not a wee bit Irish, there is a lot we can learn from the life of Patrick.

There are a lot of legends/myths about Him but it’s good to separate fact from fiction and today I’m sending a few links to articles about his life which you’ll find below. Also, if you ever have an opportunity to watch an hour long docudrama about his life that was narrated by Liam Neeson, I’d highly recommend it.

Here’s a selection of articles for your edification:

Here's An Old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Have an excellent day!

Blessings in Christ,

rlk


AND IF YOU READ THIS FAR…HERE’S A BIT O’HUMOR:
http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/WImPKUil5HIgd0Ua?cmpid=jj_fb_self

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spontaneous Baptisms @ Elevation Church?


God's Word is very clear on Pastors being doubly accountable and what their role is and qualification are so, I hope for his sake and for this congregation that this report via the following linked article turns out to be false:

http://www.wcnc.com/news/iteam/How-Elevation-Church-Pastor-Furtick-produce-spontaneous-baptism-246072001.html 

What are you thoughts on this? 

I currently serve at a church where we baptize people pretty much every weekend as we keep the baptism and the water in it warm and ready to use as people take this awesome step of obedience. We take baptisms very seriously as it's one of the two major ordinances that Jesus Himself instituted. 

There's accountability for those who do the baptizing as they need to understand if that person has repented and confessed that Jesus Christ is their savior and that they are being baptized as a step of obedience.  In a practical sense there's also accountability for the one being baptized as they need to take this step for the right reasons.

I can't imagine that we'd "fake it" by planting people to respond so others will hopefully respond. We simply let people know at the beginning and end of service that if they want to take this step of obedience that we'd be happy to help them to take this step. Baptism is an important step of obedience for the individual(s) life and walk with the Lord. 

Spontaneous baptism is possible as long as it's in response to the truth of God's Word and in response to the Spirit's leading and not simply an emotional response to that moment - don't get me wrong, unless you don't have a pulse there are true emotions going on when you are being baptized as it's a truly awesome moment / milestone in the life a follower of Christ! ...you just shouldn't take this step based only on emotions. 

Emotions are temporal but God's Word isn't and responding to Him shouldn't be relegated to only an emotional response. Don't get me wrong, there are true and multiple emotions going on once you make that decision... in this case to be baptized (and during the baptism), however, we should respond to God based on what the truth of His Word says and through the leading or the conviction of the Holy Spirit to do something in obedience that He wants us to do...basically we should respond to the truth.

Obedience is Obedience regardless of emotions or feelings...and we are to walk in obedience regardless of how we're feeling or how our emotions are up or down that specific moment.

Specifically with the topic of baptism, (as this article is about this) my fear is that if churches get people hyped up to be baptized, (not that it's not exiting) or respond to this through drumming up emotions, they could be responding for the wrong reasons. Baptism as well as Communion are sacred invitations and remembrances and not an event to just "check off the box" so to speak. So, we shouldn't take it lightly.

In sum, In my humble opinion, the decision to be baptized should be made as a genuine response out of obedience.




Blessings,

rlk

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Believe...

Here's something to reflect on today...


"I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining. I believe in love, even when I'm alone. I believe in God, even when He is silent." -Unknown

Always remember, even when God seems silent...He is still there and still at work!

Have a blessed day!

-rlk




#truth #life #hope

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Focus on, Listen to and Rely On...

Hello Friends!

Here's some practical wisdom to consider as you face every decision, every trial, every circumstance...


As you seek to live your life for Him and walk with Him daily...

Focus on God: Not Your Problems
Listen to God: Not Your Insecurities
Rely On God: Not Your Own Strength

Blessings!

rlk

(If interested, you can download the full size image here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tgy49uz9pesdmp2/FocusOnListenToRelyOnGOD.png) (PNG format)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stop Remembering What God Has Forgotten!



We all we all sin. But because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and payment that satisfied God’s wrath by His death on the cross! He died for our sins and then He rose from the grave, every one of our sins past present or future has been paid in full through what He did for you and I!

Don’t let shame and guilt keep you from walking in God's love and forgiveness daily!

Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) says, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

Since God has removed your sin from His memory – He doesn’t hold your sin against you any longer if you’ve received His gift of salvation!

if you have receive His salvation then isn’t it time you do the same and move forward with God fully embraced by His love and mercy? He wants to use you and He loves you with a perfect and unconditional love.

Don’t allow your past or the evil one’s influence cripple you any longer and let God’s love wash over you!

He doesn't want you to live a defeated or crippled life anymore because He already won victory over sin on the cross so let's start living and walking in His truth!

Something to think about today and if you’re struggling with letting go of the past, letting go of the sins you’ve already been forgiven for, let me encourage you to seek Him about this as He can and will help you move forward! 


So, STOP remembering what God has forgiven and forgotten! Make this your prayer today!

In Christ,

rlk

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Awkward Prayer




"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." -Max Lucado

Hello!


It's good to know that the power in prayer is in the One Who is all powerful! 

When you pray, pray from the heart, pray with confidence, pray unceasingly, be reverent, be honest (He knows your thoughts and heart anyway...no fooling Him!) don't get caught up in the words of your prayers or in repeating a "form" prayer that someone prescribes. (Even the Lord's prayer wasn't about a "form" prayer)

The One with whom you are communicating through prayer is important and He's not concerned with the exact wording but with our hearts and simply spending time hearing us communicate with Him. He's not impressed or extra-moved by "perfectly" worded prayers. So, don't worry as much about wording but focus instead on how and with whom you're communicating. Take the pressure off of yourself and humbly and honestly approach Him with prayer.

Purpose to simply pray and communicate from your heart to God, the One who hears your prayers along with His Son our one and only mediator between God and ourselves as well as with His Spirit who intercedes for us as well! What prayer team we have each time we pray!

Your prayers do make a difference! Keep on praying!


Blessings,

rlk

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Issue of Age in Modern Worship

I read an excellent blog post recently regarding The Issue of Age in Modern Worship and I wanted to share it here on my blog.

http://manuelluz.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/the-issue-of-age-in-modern-worship/ 

This definitely is a growing trend in many churches in the US and is something The Church as a whole should be concerned with. 

It is a concern I've had and I've witness this trend in many churches across America and is something that the church as a whole needs to consider and seek God about! The post focuses on Worship but I think this (the issue of age) is something that plagues other areas of the church as well.

"Age", "Coolness" and "looks" shouldn't be the deciding factor...maturity, capability, skill, talent and most of all "Calling" are many of the things that should be taken into consideration. If this is being used to grow the church the short term gain in numbers via the draw of a younger "face" of the church will not necessarily equate to true growth through the growth and development of the people who attend the church.

I also realize this issue can fall on both ends of the age spectrum. However, the last several years its fallen on the older end of the spectrum which is troubling because God isn't finished with us yet. (anyone over 20 something is seemingly considered old these days)

The issue in part comes down to balance...in other words the leadership needs to seek The Lord's help to find the right people to call and to utilize in ministry ...paid or volunteer...and that could be someone older or on the 20 something side of the spectrum. It just shouldn't be an issue of age.

God can use everyone!! We should seek to honor God in everything because it's about Him and we as leaders and followers of Christ will be accountable to Him!

God is not finished with any of us yet and in this particular case...the people in the "old" category still have a lot left to give and serve God and the Body of Christ with in the area of Worship and a multitude of other areas within The Church!

I wonder what it would take for The Church, as much as possible to become more Multi-Generational?

I don't know the complete answer to resolve this but I pray The Church (Not just one specific church, rather The Church as a whole) will consider this and seek to balance this so the young and the "old" (anyone seemingly over 20 something) will be used for and be allowed to use their gifts, talents and most of all for the calling God has placed on their lives.

I pray that we will prayerfully consider what the author shares in the above article.

Please take time to read the article and then come back and share your thoughts here. 

I would love to dialogue with you about this as it's an issue the church needs to wrestle with!

Prayerfully and with Hope,

rlk 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Development



"God does not relish our sufferings, but He delights in our development." -Max Lucado

In times of trial and struggle I've come to believe that we can either view these times up as either "Here go again" times or "Here we GROW again times".

God's Word teaches us that trials, hard times, struggles, etc are not without purpose and through these hard times He is and always has been at work. (See Romans 5:3-5, Romans 8:28 & 1 Peter 5:10 for some examples) You are not alone in your battle, The Lord is with you and your family in Christ is with you as well..that is if you don't distance yourself from God and cut off the people around you during these times!

Going forward, even though we can all attest to how difficult it is when we're in the thick of the battle, however, let us purpose to see these times a growth or "Here we GROW again time" where God is at work in your life for His Glory and your good! Amen!?

You will make it through whatever you're facing today!

Blessings in Christ,
rlk


Friday, January 03, 2014

The Fiery Sermon

Our words are important and we need to choose them wisely. 
We also need to know when to speak and when not to speak as we reach out to and communication with others. 

The following story reminds me in part of this famous quote:

"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." -Francis of Assisi

Take time to read this story and see the wisdom communicated through it. Then take time to reflect on your own life. We need each other and again, we need to use our words wisely...especially when we're trying to help others.

I pray that we all grow in wisdom - learning when to speak and when to be silent. 


The Fiery Sermon (A.K.A. The Wordless Sermon) – Author Unknown 

A member of the church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday.'

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.



#yourwordsmatter #weneedeachother

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Hello,

Wanted to wish you a very Happy, Fruitful, Prosperous and Blessed New Year!

As I reflect on this past year, I am very thankful for many things including my family, church family, friends, and the co-workers all of the before mentioned that I'm blessed to know!

Most of all I’m blessed to be an adopted Son (One of the King's Kids) of the Most High King – The God of the Universe!

As you head into the New Year, may you fervently seek God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength!

We don’t know what 2014 holds but we can put our hope in a Great God who loves you and I and Who does know the future and will guide and direct our paths for His Glory and our good!

Here's to a putting the past year behind and looking forward with great hopes and expectations on the New Year ahead…2014!

Now - Bring on 2014!!! :-)

Your Brother and Servant,
rlk