Do I Really Need to go Back to Church?

The recent “hunker-down” ordeal that we have just been through has really changed the way people view their lives.  There is really no way to tell when things will return to normal, if at all.  Its being reported that we will be required to wear masks and be socially distant for the remainder of the year or possibly longer.  Even schools across the nation are looking at new schedules that will split time at home and in school for students.  Employers also are slow to reintegrate their workforce.

Churches, including ours, responded to this change by transitioning to online worship experiences.  Some were ready to do this.  Others, like us, struggled with the technology to make it work, but eventually got there.  These streaming services are by no means perfect but have attempted to fill the void of restricted attendance.  Some positives that came out of this was that more people “attended” services, people could still feel connected, and the church was able to reach some who would never think of coming into the building.

Now that restrictions are being lifted, what is the next step?  Do you come back, or do you stay away?  Here are my thoughts on the matter:

The Church is more than a building, but it is the building

Some have argued that the church is more than a building.  True, but misleading.  The church building exists as a training center for believers.  The church building serves as a starting point, especially for young believers, to become engaged, rooted, and built up so they can face the world.  The church building serves as a guide, a place to discover and learn to use the tools given us.  Having a place to gather, while we still can, serves as a rallying point and to receive our marching orders.  We will not always have this in the time to come.

An online ministry is great until you need something

Some people find it easy just to watch a minister on TV or YouTube.  Online ministries can be great, but they are not your pastor.  A pastor is the “sheep-leader”, one who follows the Shepherd and guides the other sheep on the path.  In addition, the pastor of your local church gives the vision for that body, prays for you, and helps to lead you to Christ.  Some do not like to be led like that, and become astray, vulnerable to the predators.  You never realize how much you need a pastor until you do.

Fellowship is a familial connection

I never understood why we always called each other “Brother” or “Sister”, until I realized that the church family is truly my family!  We fight sometimes – that is what family does.  Then, we make up and go forward.  That is the other thing that family does.  Further, we are called the Bride of Christ, which means that we are a big deal to Him.  This fellowship makes our connection as a point between each other, and with God.  Having opened the church for the past couple of weeks, I have seen the joy on people’s faces as they saw each other again.  We need that fellowship.  It is so much easier to worship when you feel the corporate worship of other believers.

Would God keep you away?

I believe the enemy has lied to people and convinced them that they do not need church, which really goes against everything Scripture says.  Would God tell you to stay away from what He created?  Would He make an exception just for you so you do not have to come, and you can just have church to yourself in your home?  That does not sound like Him.  If you read in Exodus and Leviticus, God painfully detailed every aspect of the offerings and sacrifices, in addition to various laws, so that the people would have no excuse.  We have all bought into that lie at some point or another – that we can just worship at home.  But God has designed us for fellowship, to be accountable to one another.  Distance does not allow that.


While there are some who are compromised, most are ready and able to return.  For those that are not ready due to being compromised, I believe God has given you special grace.  For that reason, we will still offer the online streaming so we can reach those who need it.  But for some, its time to come back.  Do not fall into the habit of missing church, and do not fall into the habit of justifying it. 

It is time to come home…

Is Climate Change Real?

There has always been debate about our environment.  I can remember the crises of acid rain and the ozone, each with such urgency that it seemed doom was imminent.  Now, the doom has become fever-pitched, with claims from the young speaker at the UN of mass extinction.  Even the young representative from New York publicly stated that we have less than 12 years to fix this, although “this” is never really discussed in detail, just that it needs to be fixed.  In a recent classroom here in Juneau, students were asked if they believed in climate change, and all but one raised their hands emphatically.  The one who didn’t was then mocked and shamed.  In fact, a recent study has stated that young people are now refusing to have children so that they won’t grow up in a world that’s doomed to climate change.  Here’s the link to one article of many so you can read for yourself:

What does God say about this?

So what is the response of the church?  In everything that I see, those who believe in climate change are demanding extreme measures from the government to fix it.  For instance, the Green Bill, as it was named, called for the ultimate elimination of plane travel, building redesigns, etc.  There are people who are truly living in fear over this, as it has been whipped up to hysteria levels.  And they believe that it is fixable, that man can control nature (God).

Whenever I have a question about something, the Bible is always the final authority.  In Romans 8:20-22, it says this:

 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

While I believe that as a Christian, I of all people should be a steward of what God has given to us.  But it is arrogance to think that we can change the “bondage of corruption” that creation is subjected to.  This corruption is our sin, our failure to meet the standard of God.  In Genesis, God spoke about how the blood of Abel called out from the earth to Him (Gen 4:10).  Our nation has spilt so much innocent blood through abortion.  In the Old Testament, Israel was punished for idol worship through a three year famine (1 Kings 17:1).   Every day, our nation and people bow at the idols of money, sex and power.  We cannot escape the judgement of God.  He HATES sin!

The Power to Change

Science has become the god of those who believe this.  But, God has provided a way to delay His judgement, which will be inevitable.  The Book of Revelation reveals His judgement on mankind for their refusal to submit to Him.  However, in 2 Chronicles 7:12-13, God speaks to Solomon about the temple, and how the Israelites will one day turn away from Him.  But, because God is a God of Mercy and Compassion, He says this in v. 14:

(I)f My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

He will heal our land!  Only He has that authority!  But, it comes with humility, prayer, seeking His face, turning from our wicked ways.  I don’t see any of this right now from those who purport concern.

Don’t be sheep that are led astray with the wind of this doctrine.  It is a doctrine from hell meant to deceive and distract from trust in God.  Don’t be confused, don’t fear.  If you believe in Him, He has a place for us.  If you haven’t committed to Him, the time is now.

Is Homosexuality a Sin?

A Matter of Pride

There’s been a lot of news lately during this so-called “pride” month where Christians are apologizing to the LBGTQ community for how they’ve been treated, and a call for acceptance. This call for acceptance is not about accepting the individual, but condoning and approving of the lifestyle. More and more, churches are embracing this community as peers and equals (spiritually) and allowing them to continue their lifestyle and choices while attending church. When looking at sin, we must always look to God’s Word. There are numerous places where God decries such actions (Romans 1 being the most notable). But before we get into this, we as a church must also recognize God’s love for everyone (John 3:16-17). His heart breaks for those who do not follow Him, and therefore we must love everyone. Even those we don’t agree with. Jesus demonstrated this while on the cross, and numerous other times in the Gospel. We must remember it is not our job to judge – that is God’s alone! I am actually thankful for that. For the Church to be the Church, we must embrace those who sin, so much like Christ embraced the lepers. Meaning, the level of sin does not matter. What matters is the Grace of God to all people. We cannot distance ourselves, we cannot be afraid, but by His Grace love those who do not want or reject our love.

Now, to the Greater Point…

Now, to the greater point. Is homosexuality a sin? The simple answer is yes, and not just because of what is written in Romans or Deuteronomy. It is sin because it defies God’s design for us (Genesis 1:28, 9:1). Everything God does results in producing fruit – everything. If God touches it, there is a blessing. Look at creation, look at the sinner who becomes saved! When something rebels against that by doing what is contrary, there is death. When a man and woman come together as designed, there is a blessing that is produced. Life is created, and the bountiful joy of a baby ensures that a man and woman continue through their children. My kids are like me in so many ways, and also like their mom. That is a blessing, knowing I will continue in the lives of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren should the Lord tarry. They can look back to me and know where they come from. I can look forward to those who come after me and pray for them, prepare for them, and even love them.

150 year old Bible close up

Death vs Life

If you are in a homosexual relationship, life is not produced or created. There is only death. Any consummation does not result in egg fertilization, thus life is not given a chance to happen. In addition, there is disease that is the direct result of these acts which causes death. Those within the LBGTQ community will argue that there is adoption and surrogates, much like in the “straight” community. But, this comes from man’s attempt to work around the laws of God. I do not doubt that people feel these urges to the same-sex, but that is not an excuse to sin. Everyone feels the temptation to sin – everyone. But there is Power in His Name to overcome (John 16:33, I Cor 10:13)!

The Love of God Overcomes

Homosexuality is a strong issue within our community. It has become time that we address this, and to not fear speaking out. We do this not out of hate, but out of love. If you knew that an action was going to kill someone, would you not speak out? Would you not beg and plead? If you consider yourself homosexual, there is love and redemption at the Cross. There is no judgment (although that time is coming). We are here to provide you love. Stop listening to the lies. Read God’s Word for yourself, don’t believe just me or anyone else. Allow God to show you. And, if you are willing, He will also show you His love.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32 31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (NKJV)

Jesus liked to speak in parables (Matthew 13:34) because it helped to relate a greater truth through a parallel story.  He knew that the concept of heaven, or anything spiritual for that matter, was a difficult thing to grasp for the people of that time.  It can also be difficult for us too, even with our advanced education and knowledge.  Because the primary occupations were either farming or shepherding, Jesus tended to include most of his analogies along those lines.  In those days, farming meant eating.  No crop meant no food.  No food meant starvation.  It could also mean no food for the livestock, which would also mean starvation for years to come.  There was no local grocery store to simply run to.

Today, we live a non-agricultural society, so it can be hard to understand some of the concepts He was trying to convey.  This was His third parable on farming (the first being the Sower, the second being the wheat and tares – each conveying a different point).  I grew up with my grandfather having a small farm, so there are some impressions here to realize.

First, to be a farmer, you must be a hard worker.  To till the soil to prepare it for the seed, to pull the weeds and guard against animals that would harm the garden, then to harvest your work, can be extremely exhausting.  Second, you must be patient.  The fruit of the soil does not grow overnight, but there is a lot of working going on in the ground.  It does not just appear out of the ground, but takes time.  And thirdly, it takes faith.  Faith in knowing the work done will yield results, faith in knowing that there are things happening unseen, but they are still happening (Heb. 11:1).

When looking at this parable, we know that Jesus uses the example of a mustard seed – an extremely small seed.  Yet, He compares it to the Kingdom of Heaven!  In another parable, He used the mustard seed as an example of a measure of faith (Matt. 17:20).  After planting by the Sower, it becomes a great plant, so great that is used by the birds for nesting.  Mustard plants can grow up to 10 feet tall, as high as a basketball goal.  Something so small becomes great.

When God places Himself in us, it has potential to become great.  So great, that people are drawn to it (remember the birds?) and become comfortable, or live, there!  Birds build their nests where there is safety from predators.  When we are fully realized in Him, people come to what God has done in us.  They are drawn to what God has produced.

For any plant, the components of growth are the right mixture of three things:  soil, rain, and light.  In soil, the right mixture of gases and nutrients help keep the plant rooted and promote initial growth.  So the Word of God does for us – it is sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), and is also profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).  The rain helps provide water, which all living things require to survive.  The rain is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in that without it, we become arid and dry.  With it, we become fully alive and nourished.  The rain also enriches the soil, as does the Holy Spirit with the Word, giving us understanding of deeper truths.  Finally, the light represents God’s presence in our lives.  Jesus said He is the Light of the World.  When He is with us, it shows.  When a plant receives light, photosynthesis occurs, and growth happens.

Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!


Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!

Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!

Trust in The Lord

It’s simple. It’s short. Yet it’s incredibly powerful. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible–with good reason. It sets forth a life-changing truth that is worthy of our attention. Spend three minutes reading this article, and see if you agree.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Let’s break down this life-changing truth to make sure we understand it.


Trust in the Lord.

It starts with trust. Any real relationship has to start with some level of trust. It’s the only way a friendship will endure. It’s the only way a marriage will work out. It’s the simple reason why an employer hires workers, or why the workers stay employed. It’s all about trust. Trust in the Lord, however, takes on an entirely new dimension. This is our trust in an eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He is worthy of our trust. The trust is important, not just because of who God is, but because of the way in which we must trust him: with all your heart. It involves every fiber of your being. That’s the kind of trust we can have in God–a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.

If you are a Christian, you trusted God for salvation. You can trust Him with the rest of your life, too–every detail.


Read part 2, Don’t Lean On Your Understanding

Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

Read part 1 first, Trust In The Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


Don’t Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God.

Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.


Instead, Acknowledge God. In Everything.

The antidote to this self-reliance is found in the first command of the verse. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Which is developed in the next verse: “In all your ways acknowledge him.” The word “acknowledge” isn’t merely a polite tip of the hat to the Man Upstairs, or a few words of grace over your meal, or even perfunctory attendance at church to let Him know we’re still cool with what He’s doing. It’s way more. It’s allowing Him access, control, command, and involvement in all your ways.

What’s the result of this? Will God ruin your life? Will he be a Sovereign Killjoy? Will He rob you of fun? The verse ends on a promise. What is it?


He will make your paths straight.

The promise is put in the form of a metaphor. What does it mean to have straight paths? Several things. First, paths lead toward an end–a destination, a goal. Thus, trusting God wholeheartedly in every area of life gives your life a sense of purpose and priority. Second, it indicates that there will be a clear understanding of where you are going and what you are doing. It makes daily decision-making an easier and less painful task. You realize you are trusting Him. He, in turn, is making your paths straight. Thus, the way ahead is more apparent. Third, “straight paths” suggests moral purity. It suggests a life that has less of sinful compromise and more of wholesome attitudes, actions, and behavior.

That’s the kind of life that God promises. It’s the kind of life that you can have. It begins with trust. It involves acknowledging God in every way.