Aulne United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Worship! Grow! Serve!

PJ's Blog

June 2017

 

 

 Have you ever found yourself literally overwhelmed with sadness and not know why? I mean everyone expects us to be sad when we lose a loved one or when we’ve lost our job, but what about those moments when you are just overwhelmed with grief for, what to many, would seem unnecessary to be grieving over. For example, when I think of the situations that have made the news headlines my heart grieves. I find myself saying things like, “boy how times have changed,” or “I miss the good ole’ days” a comment that echoed my parent’s voices. When I lift the hood of my car and see a labyrinth of cords, cables and unless masses of unknown metal and plastic I find myself sad and missing an inline six cylinder or a basic four cylinder that I could work on myself.

 

Times change and with the change can come great advancements. I am absolutely amazed at the progress mankind has made in the areas of science and medicine. But now it seems that progress has created for itself a new religion, secular humanism. In this religion man is the god to which worship must be directed. As a society, we are pushing God further and further out of our lives, individually and collectively. Arguments over nativity scenes in parks, whether the phrase “in God we trust” should be on our coinage and the words in our national pledge that reminds us that we are “one nation under God” challenge the place that God has in the community of our nation. If I could inject an illustrative moment the greatness of our nation has always been linked to our relationship nationally with God. His blessing upon us in the past has provided us with a protective hedge, but that hedge is being trimmed daily by those who wish to see God replaced by secular humanist philosophy.

 

Lately, I find myself identifying with Nehemiah from the scriptures. Upon hearing the news of the condition of the walls of Jerusalem his heart became heavy with sadness. The city that once was great and attracted leaders from all over the world during Solomon’s reign was now in ruin. The walls were broken and the gates were burned. Verse 4 of Nehemiah chapter 1 says that Nehemiah upon hearing the news of Jerusalem sat down and wept.

 

A couple of weeks ago I was driving home from Wichita and I had just returned from Annual Conference. I was thinking about all that is going on in the church and all that is going on with the nation and I was overcome with sadness. In fact, I had to do all that I could to keep from crying. The walls of biblical, scriptural ministry are collapsing. I am reminded of Proverbs 14:12 that says, there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. In every area of crisis whether within the church world or secular society there is a move toward doing what seems right to man’s thinking rather than doing what is in accordance with God’s Word and the way of man leads to an undesirable end.

 

After Nehemiah wept he prayed. Prayer has specific results when engaged earnestly:

 

1.      Prayer internalizes the burden and deepens our ownership of the need.

 

2.      Prayer insist that we quiet ourselves and wait upon God’s Spirit to lead our actions

 

3.      Prayer provides us with a vision, enabling us to see what God wants to do.

 

4.      Prayer initiates the vision’s fulfillment, acting as a catalyst for us to respond to God.

 

I know that we are all busy. Between wrestling with schedules and the burdens of life it is easy to ignore some of the things that are happening in the world around us, but if ever commitment to prayer is needed it is now. To finish my story about my overwhelming sadness while driving, I was reminded that all that is happening in the church world, society and in my life with its stresses and challenges, is no surprise to God. He’s on it! We need to trust Him and stand with Him, whatever He ask of us.

 

 

May 1, 2017 

 So, in thinking about the question that I left you with in my last blog, what is it that drives the economy of God’s Kingdom? Have you given it any thought? The answer is souls. Transformed lives through the power of the indwelling presence of God is what drives the economy of God. The Church sometimes forgets that our purpose is supposed to be the same as that of Jesus. Mark 10:45 reveals His purpose; “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” What was the purpose for Jesus giving His life up for all mankind? John 3:16 tells us. It says, “for God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” The Church’s objective is to share the life-changing message of God’s love for people through the gift of His Son, Jesus. Somehow this objective has been watered down and even in some cases thrown out altogether. The Church has become many things. It provides food, shelter, counseling, entertainment, education assistance, financial assistance, life coaching etc.…and the list could go on and on. Now do not take me wrong! I am not against any of those things. These are all great works of ministry, but if they do not share the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus then they fail to be life transforming. I believe that the church should do anything to minister to people, but with the sole objective of letting folks know that Jesus died for them and that He can free them from their sin. What can you do to share the gospel with others around you? It is souls saved that causes the Kingdom of God to flourish. Souls saved drive the economy of God’s Kingdom. You and I are called to be entrepreneurs of ministry. And in any business there is a cost, an investment, in ministry it will be time, selfless sacrifice of our own desires and even financial. But the dividends are eternal.

 

4/03/2017

Welcome to my first blog! I am not sure what I am doing on the technical side of this idea, but I have been wanting to present a weekly devotional thought on the website for some time. So please bear with me as I learn as I go.

Those phrase, “It cost to follow Jesus, but it cost more not to” is thought provoking. We live in a culture where the message of following Jesus is presented readily, but the message of not following Jesus and the high cost of ignoring or even rejecting Him is rarely mentioned. Jesus mentions in the gospels that there is a cost to following Him. Matthew16:24-27 and Mark 8:34-38 give us the words of Jesus about the cost of following after Him. There are two installments to the cost of following Jesus, 1. Denying yourself. This isn’t the external asceticism of the life of a monk. But simply put, it is putting the interest of God’s Kingdom before our own interest. 2. Take up your cross. Jesus wasn’t suggesting that we endure some irritating burden, but rather to renounce our own ambitions for the sake of the Kingdom. We may never know the full extent of what our actions as a disciple following after Jesus may carry in terms of further God’s Kingdom. The converse of this proposition is also true. We may never know, in this life, the full extent that our self-centered actions may have upon hindering the Kingdom God’s furtherance.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is more than just believing in Him. It must be more than going to church. The cost must involve putting the Kingdom's needs before our own. So that leads us to the needs of the God's Kingdom. What does the Kingdom of God need? Let me ask you this question, What is it that drives the economy of God's Kingdom? Just as in this world certain things drive our worlds economy, such as jobs, commerce, monetary exchanges etc... what is it that drives the Kingdom economy? What causes the Kingdom of God to flourish?