Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prodigal Children

I was reading about the prodigal in Luke 15, and it seems as if the focus of this story is either on the prodigal himself and how he finally returns, or on the older brother who does not appreciate that his lost brother has come back.

I kept thinking about the Dad. How long did he have to wait? What did he do in between the time his son left and the time his son came back? How did he feel when he heard news about how his son was behaving?

I guess I was focusing on the Dad because my wife and I have a prodigal child.

We have been hurt more than you can imagine, and wonder how long this will go on. We continue to hear things that just break our hearts.

We pray. Everyday. Several times a day.

The prodigal son in the scriptures had to be reduced to living and eating with the pigs before he came to his senses and returned to his Father. I cannot help but wonder what this means when it comes to our child. Who will be the pigs? What form will the pigpen take?

And of course the most important question....when will our child come back?

We pray for our child to come back to the Lord. To return to the love they once had.

I have to be honest, that at times it feels as if our child will never return.

I have to remind myself, that I too was a prodigal. From the age of 15 to 25 I rebelled against the Lord and His ways. I did many things that I am ashamed of today. Somewhere along the way, I found myself in the pigpen, with the pigs. Oh, they didn't look like pigs, but you can dress a pig up in a tuxedo, and it's still a pig. You can spray all the lysol you want in the pigpen and it is still going to stink. It was not an easy road back, or an easy life since I have been back. When you spend time in the pigpen of life, there are consequences. Some of those consequences I have been paying for now for over 25 years. But I wouldn't trade my relationship with Jesus now for anything this world has to offer.

So I know there is hope.

So join me in prayer for my prodigal. Leave me a comment or send me an email about your prodigal story....and the next time you read Luke 15.....remember the Dad.

Time to go,
Pastor Dave

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What Is A Healthy Church Member?

I just finished reading a little book called, "What Is A Healthy Church Memeber?" by Thabiti M. Anyabwile and published by Crossway.

What Is A Healthy Church Member?

Let me first say that I believe every church member should read this book. Too many people see joining a church the same as joining a club, or civic organization, and nothing could be further from the truth.

I also believe that if every church member would read this book, and apply what is found in it's pages, we would have not only healthy church members, but as a result, healthy churches.

Imagine a church that stood for truth, preached the gospel, cared for one another and those without Christ, supported the pastor instead of working against him, understood tithing, disicpleship, prayer, the need for discipline and for genuine salvation. We would once again be like the church in the book of Acts, "turning the world upside down" with the truth that has been entrusted to us.

My only complaint is to be found in the chapter, "A Healthy Church Member Is A Committed Member". Now, I agree with the statement that the chapter makes, but in this chapter the author attempts to explain why you should join a local church, and in doing so, he comes across very "baptistic"....which he would seeing as he is a pastor of a baptist church. Now I don't say this in a derogatroy way, as I too am a pastor of a baptist church. What I am trying to say is that unless you have a baptist background, or the background of another church that teaches church membership, I don't think the arguments for church membership in this chapter are all that convincing.

The reason I say that is that we have had a lot of people come to our church that don't believe in joining a church. Some have done so because we require anyone who holds an office to be a member of the church, but many have not. In our membership class I have used the same arguments put forth by Mr. Anyabwile in his book, and while some have let me know that they now understand what a church member really is and now agree with joining a church, some still do not see the reason, and have discussed why they beleive what they do.

Now let me be clear here. These are not "fly by night" believers. Most of them come on a more regular basis than many of the members, and give tithes and offerings on a regular basis. Some are graduates of Bible schools, and all have a deep personal relationship with Jesus. But they just don't see joining a church as a biblical concept.

I'm just curious is anyone else has come across this issue, and if so, I would welcome feedback on how you dealt with this issue.

In the meantime, go out and get this book. Share it with your brothers and sisters. See what they think. I'm thinking of using the book to teach a series of lessons at our midweek service. If you pick it up and read it, let me know what you think. It's a short book, only 120 pages, including the appendix.

That's all for now,
Pastor Dave

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Blogging We Will Go

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away......well, not exactly, but way back on December 29, 2006 I began this blog. I had great intentions of posting often, and of recording a journey of my reading through the Bible in a year.

But, being a bi-vocational pastor of a growing church, it was much harder to find the time to post on a regular basis than I thought it would be.

And that brings us to this post. As of the 24th of January, I walked away from my "tent-making" job and am no longer bi-vocational. I am devoting my life now to pastoring Loma Rica Baptist Church, spreading the gospel and encouraging my brothers and sisters wherever and whenever I can.

My goal is to post every day....even if it is just little post about what kind of a day I had the day before. I hope to have more pictures, video, and updated my links and anything else I can do to make the blog more interesting.

This will be a good way for the church I pastor to keep in daily contact with me, and I pray that this blog will be a way to spread the gospel and encourage the body of Christ. I also hope that as the world keeps getting smaller with the advancing technology we have at our disposal, that this blog might be used to conect the body of Christ from one part of the globe to the other.

Comments, questions, suggestions and criticism (play nice) are always welcome.

Ok, so there's that.

Pastor Dave