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Monthly Archives: March 2007

Keeping our convictions ours…

Today I was reading in 1 Corinthians from chapters 7 & 8.  It really touched a nerve with me.  I believe one of the most destructive forces in the church today is that which wants to push our personal convictions onto others.  I rarely attend a church service, a bible study or a cell group where I don’t find Christians trying to thrust their personal convictions (not biblical mandates) on others.  At the very core, it is simply heartbreaking.  Christ died to bring mercy and grace into a world wrought with condemnation.  And what do we Christians do?  We resurrect condemnation from the dead and try to pass it off to anyone who will  receive it.  We create rules about what we can wear, say, drink and how we should act.  And it all comes from a point of seeming righteousness.  After all, we did receive these convictions from the Lord, but we forget that we received them for ourselves, not for everyone we come in contact with.  Yet we allow these personal convictions to turn into legalism and condemnation.  And we don’t even have to say one word for this to come to pass.  All we need to do is allow judgements to form in our hearts about others and BAM – the enemy has a foothold.

So my encouragement for you all today is this:  First – Seek the Lord for His will for Your life and when he reveals those things in which he has called you to, walk in them!  Then – Allow others the same freedom.  They will seek after the same Lord and He may not call them to the same things that He has called you to.  So let us not sit in judgement of one another, especially when the Lord isn’t sitting in judgement.

be blessed
-pastorj

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Posted by on March 31, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

A Quick Saga… But Arrived Safe and Blessed

Okay, first I have to start by telling you of my interesting car saga.  I so wanted to be able to take the Cadillac on our trip down to Mississippi.  I mean, who wouldn’t?  It is big, comfortable, rides nice and believe it or not, not too bad on the gas.  But, alas, there have been a couple issues with the car of late that would make it a pain in the rear to take on the trip.  There was this weird thumping coming out of the front end and the power driver’s seat kept blowing a fuse (so it would be stuck in Amy’s position OR my position).  So I took it in before I headed down to Mexico a couple weeks back.  They fixed the thumping (some bad stabilizing rods – yeah, I don’t know what they are either) and they said that they fixed the seat (some corrosion on the connectors), but that they noticed some problems with the front breaks and we should think about re-doing the entire front end breaks.  I though, no problem, I have done that before.  So, I went ahead and re-did the breaks.  New rotors, new pads – went perfectly.  Only one problem, the shaking didn’t go away.  So I took it in to have the tires balanced and rotated.  This is when I found out that the tires were bad – at first I was sure I was getting hosed, but upon inspection they did need to be replaced.  I won’t even dare to keep a running total of how much this is all costing me.  Okay, now I have new tires, new brakes – the world is right.  Wrong.  So I replaced the front rotors, AGAIN, but alas, the shaking is still there.  Granted it is only like 10% of what it used to be so I am just dealing with it until I return.  But that isn’t the real saga…

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Posted by on March 30, 2007 in Missions, Prayer

 

Big News and a Busy Week

By now many of you have already heard that I have resigned my position as pastor of Four Winds Christian Fellowship in Marshall, MI.  For some time now, Amy and I have felt the Lord leading us elsewhere but did not know where or what the timing would be.  After much prayer and seeking the Lord we believed that we found the right time to move on.  We resigned last Monday and are now earnestly seeking the Lord on our future direction.  There seems to be the possibility of a ministry job opening up in Portage for me, but we are still seeking the face of the Lord on that matter.  Amy and I both are so excited to see what the Lord has planned for our future.  As the song says, “our future is wide open”.  Wherever he leads us, we will go!

 On top of all this happening, it has been a busy week.  Yesterday I met with one of the leaders at the church in Portage to see whether the Lord was opening that door.  I am hoping to hear back from them today or tomorrow.  In the mean time, Amy and I are preparing to lead worship on a missions trip in Gulfport, Mississippi.  I am excited for the opportunity we have to work together on this trip.  After the trip, we are planning on taking a brief retreat of our own in Georgia.  Please pray that the Lord will guide us in some of the big decisions we have to make in the coming weeks.

be blessed
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2007 in General, Ministry, Personal Life

 

The Joy of Travel

Well, last night was an interesting one.  I knew that I had an early flight back when I left home, but I didn’t know that it was going to cause me the heart ache that it has.  The plan was that I would go to bed at a reasonable time last night, get up early to cross the border and get on my plane.  About 20 minutes before we were going out for our last supper we found out that the border crossing doesn’t open until 6:00AM…  My flight left at 6:30AM so this posed a major problem.  I had to quickly (in about 20 minutes) pack all my stuff and load it into the vehicle.  We dropped Hugh and our friend Gabriel off (Hugh is taking Gabriel to a drug rehabilitation center in Oaxaca, Mexico) and then headed for the border.  My AIM project leader said that AIM would have to buy me a hotel room for the night because of their mistake with my airline ticket.  No problem eh?  Problem – Spring Break.  Yep EVERY hotel room in Harlingen was filled.  It was ridiculous.  So my night consisted of about 2 hours of sleep on the tile floor in the airport.  I am not complaining, but it was quite an adventure.  Anyway, I made it on my first flight and now I am waiting for my last flight home.  I am so excited to see Amy and sleep in my own bed.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please pray for Hugh and Gabriel that the Lord would bless their journey.

be blessed
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2007 in Missions

 

Matamoros Trip Winding Down

Hello All!  Thank you so much for your prayers.  I am starting to feel better and expect that by morning I will feel 100%!  The trip here is winding down.  I have to admit that I am a little dissapointed that the church group has decided to spend their last ministry day going to the beach and the market.  BUT I would say that these kids have worked really hard in the days they have been here.  I believe that many learned to hear from the Lord for the very first time.  Tonight, I gave an invitation to the kids asking them to trust that God is “more than enough for them”.  Almost all responded…  Please pray that God will continue to work in their hearts as they leave Mexico and head back home.

Tomorrow I will head over to Reynosa

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Ugghh… In Matamoros

Late last night I started feeling pretty sick.  I think it was a little food poisoning.  So the short of it is this, I still feel pretty poopy.  I slept most of today and just tried to get up.  I had to drive someone to their house to get something and that about took it out of me.  I really wanted to head over to Reynosa tomorrow to see some friends.  Pray that I will feel better.

-justin

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2007 in Missions, Prayer

 

What I am Learning in Matamoros

There is something about being face to face with people that love Jesus that are so different from myself.  As I write this now, there are two mexican translators bunking in the same room with me.  A few short days ago they were merely strangers to me and now they are my friends; guys that I laugh and enjoy life with.  Here in Mexico, I am learning to love…

The church is really screwed up.  I say that knowing full well that Jesus loves the church just as we are.  Yet, when I see the church in action, I realize how much we men have messed things up.  My first reaction to this is to sound an enourmous alarm, jump on a bull horn and yell, “STOP!”  It seems like a good idea, but it is just yet another attempt to fix something that I cannot fix, that we cannot fix – only HE can fix it.  I was reminded this week that if we are not an intercessor, we are an accuser.  The more I have prayed for God to intercede in that which I have seen as broken, the more I have been able to step back and let God be God, and by the way, He is quite good at it.  Here in Mexico, I am learning to let go…

I have to confess, I have lived much of my life in ministry looking for the approval of others.  If someone didn’t like me or didn’t support me, it ate me up inside.  There are so many things broken with this that I don’t even know where to start.  God is putting some big pieces together for me.  Primarily, I am begining to look only for His approval – and here is the awesome thing – I already have it!  Yep, don’t have to earn it, don’t have to prove it.  Isn’t that amazing.  I have been having a great trip down here.  Most all the kids like me, I get along with the leaders – it is great.  Yet there was this one person that I could just tell didn’t like me.  It was starting to affect me and then I realized the Lord was trying to teach me a lesson.  I think I got it!  Here in Mexico, I am learning that He is more than enough for me…

 be blessed
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2007 in Uncategorized