Posts filed under: Uncategorized

Merry Christmas 2016


From our family to yours, may you have the merriest of Christmas ever. Thank God for giving the greatest gift ever by giving us His Son, Jesus. 

Happy Thanksgiving

happy-thanksgiving-2010

 

May the Lord bless you and your family this Thanksgiving as you remember the many blessings He has showered upon you.

~ The Stephens Family

I Never Thought I Would

Those are words that I’m sure have come across all of our lips at some point in time. There are just some things out there that we cannot ever see ourselves doing. When those little moments do talk place in our lives, we hear these words come from our mouths.

This scene took place in my life this past week. I had gone to what I thought was an information meeting for something in our little town. What I walked away with was much more. I found myself as one of the new members of our local fire department.

Those who know me well might just be picking your jaw off the floor. I have never thought of being a firefighter or serving on the volunteer department. It has just not been something on my radar. So what changed?

img_0119-2When God led my family to our current place of service, I wondered how different it would be. We have mostly been in larger cities, but for the past couple of years we have been living in a very small town. In a small town, there is not the ability many times to have a regular fire department. These small communities rely on volunteers from the community to help out.

Another big reason that I decided to join our local fire department is to serve our community. As a pastor in the area, it is important to show the community that I am not just concerned with people coming to our church, but I am concerned about the community. I want to make a difference in our community. I want the people of our community to know that I (and our church) want to serve and make our community great. There are few things in a small town like a volunteer fire department to show this.

What are you doing in the place God has placed you to show the community that you are FOR them?

Keeping the Sabbath

At our church, I am preaching through a series called “The X Files” that takes a look at the 10 Commandments. Last week, we talked about keeping the Sabbath. It was an interesting Sunday for sure.

I like to have already wrestled through a topic before preaching on it, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Keeping the Sabbath is one thing that I have not been the best at in the past. As I prepared for this sermon, I was encouraged and convicted greatly.

I believe that this is one commandment that the Lord’s children get caught up on because either (1) they do not know what the Sabbath is, (2) they are not sure how to do, or (3) they just do not want to submit to the lordship of Christ.

While I do not want to tackle all of these things in a blog post, I do want to share about what we should so on the Sabbath.

  • Rest. The Sabbath was created as a day of rest in Genesis 2:2-3. The Lord knew that if left to ourselves, we would work ourselves to death. The “work” that is described here is our normal work (job).  There are some matters and responsibilities that we have to tend to and should. This day should be one that we rest from our labors.
  • Remember.  The Sabbath is a chance for us to, in the midst of resting from our labors, to remember all that God has done… All the blessings… All the provisions… It is through these rememberings that we might just get some insight into the direction the Lord is leading us.
  • Refuel.  It is important that we get the rest we need or else we will not be able to do all that the Lord is calling us to do. The Sabbath was created to give us an opportunity to refuel or recharge. When we do not rest, we are saying that we can do it on our own strength. If we try this, we will quickly find out that we have nowhere near the strength to do what the Lord has given us.

 

While it may seem a little crazy to set aside a day to rest, remember, and refuel, it is even crazier to think that we can do all that God desires without that time!

It May Not Be Easy

But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. (Exodus 3:19)

I love the story of Moses at the burning bush. I don’t know if it’s the reminder of the first major Bible study I went through as a disciple of Jesus – Experiencing God. This account is one that is so rich. 

The verse that is shared above is one that has made me scratch my head a few times. Moses is being called to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egpyt to the Promised Land. 

In the middle of Moses’ excuses comes the brutally honest nugget from the Lord: Pharaoh won’t listen to you.

As a preacher of God’s word, I can tell you that one thing that has Ruffles my feathers more than once is to be called to share a message with a people, and they do not respond. Truthfully, they want nothing of it. That is so frustrating. 

 If this account wasn’t bad enough, we see it again in Isaiah. In Isaiah 6:9-10, we see that after this amazing worship experience and willingness to go where God wants, Isaiah is told to go tell the people God’s word, but they will not receive not understand it. 

It is hard to accept an invitation to something when you know that it will not be received. I would begin to think, “What’s the point?” “Why should I waste my time, efforts, abilities, and heart if all they are going to do is reject/mock/ignore the message I bring to them?”

I truly believe that the answer to those questions is that one has to remember the big picture. In remembering the big picture, one realizes that this is God’s show. We do not have to be used by Him, but He chooses to use us.

Sometimes God is up to so much more than just what we see on the surface. In the case of Moses going before a hard-hearted Pharaoh, we see that with the plagues that came that God was showing Himself greater than the false gods of Egpyt. God was wanting to deliver not just the Israelites from physical slavery, but He also wanted to deliver the Egyptians from their false gods. 

The road before us that God has called us to may not be the easiest. It may not be as bright and productive as we may like. We must remember that our God is the sovereign Ruler over all things. This is His show… We’ve just been asked to be faithful.