The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's the Empahsis of Your Pursuit?

I HAVE OFTEN BEEN TROUBLED ABOUT WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS about King David being a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22.) I mean really? David was an adulterer, conspirator and murderer, and his ongoing family life left a little to be desired as well. Sure he wrote some nice songs, but a man after God’s own heart, really?

Over the years, though this passage has raised questions for me, it has also brought me some measure of hope. The hope coming from the fact that God was able (and willing) to look beyond what man sees to see a heart that, apart for its given sin nature, would truly desire to love and serve the LORD.

Recently, I was struck by another take on this as well. For Father’s Day this year my daughter Trinity put together a music CD filled with songs that she knew would speak to my heart and also speak of my heart and life. It was truthfully a very touching gift, one that I think I might be wearing out given the number of times I have listened to it. Anyway, one of the songs is by the artist Gary Chapman entitled, “A Man After Your Own Heart.” After listening to the song numerous times I heard the phrase in a whole new way. The emphasis was not on the “position” of the heart, but rather on the “direction” of the heart. A direction that was always in pursuit of God’s heart. A pursuit that might get side tracked from time to time, but one that was constantly desiring to go after God’s own heart.

Chapman’s rendering of 1 Samuel 13:14 says that what God saw in David was not a perfect heart, but rather a man who desired to pursue after God’s heart, and that is most definitely true about David. For even when David sinned, and when that sin was brought forth, he was quick to humbly confess with true brokenness and to give himself completely to God judgment and mercy. (2 Samuel 12)

Herein is the challenge for each one of us, to be men and women who are in pursuit of God’s heart. Yes, there will be times in which that pursuit gets side-tracked, stopped, or even turned around, but God is also the loving heavenly Father who is waiting with arms open wide to receive home His prodigal children; children whose hearts lean toward and pursue after His own heart.

How is your heart leaning today? What is the pursuit of your life? Are you pursuing getting into the right position at work, or attending the best school? Maybe you’re pursuing a certain relationship with that certain someone, or seeking to make a name for yourself, or even for the Kingdom of God. We all are pursuing something, maybe it’s being safe and secure or at peace with yourself and the world around you. Sure, some of these things are not inherently bad, but they must all run second in what must be our primary pursuit; the heart of God.

May our pursuits be holy!

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Monday, July 05, 2010

GET CONNECTED: TITHE

THE FASTEST WAY TO CLEAR OUT A CHURCH is to preach about tithing. If I start to preach on tithing I can see people begin to squirm, ladies grab tighter to their purses and the men head to the doors. Though the issue of tithing is not one of the Big Ten (Exodus 20:1-17), God does speak to the issue with utmost seriousness (Malachi 3:1-18).

The front page of the bulletin is neither the time nor the space to deal with tithing in a thorough sense, but in our ongoing discussion about what it means to be engaged in the life of the local church and specifically what it means to connect to the Body of Christ here at Felton Bible Church, we must address the issue.

Tithing is important, not because God needs the money, nor is it about paying for services rendered by a local non-profit corporation, but rather it is important because it is a very tangible expression of belief and trust. As a statement of belief it declares that all you have is from and belongs to God. (Money, time, possessions, life) As a statement of trust it declares that by giving to God your first and your best you are trusting Him to provide through what is left.

Now, as I noted above, there is a lot that can be discussed as to the role of tithing in the life of the follower of Jesus Christ, and given the limitedness of this space I would like to give a word of encouragement to you, the family at Felton Bible Church. I want you to know how the work of God is continuing throughout the world because of your faithful and often sacrificial giving. In a period of time when we have all be so greatly affected by the financial crisis, you have continued to give, and some even have increased their giving!

Let me close by saying, “Well done good and faithful stewards!” God is being honored and the kingdom is being progressed! Keep up the good work, and may the Lord bless you with the riches of heaven!
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