A regular (daily, weekly, monthly) specialty serving of significant
or insignificant musings from the mind of an Italian Pastor.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Verse of the day...

In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Need I say more?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Faith vs. Works and a Musical Memory

There was a band I used to love called "Plankeye." Looking back they were pretty good - at least I thought so then. However, their name is profound. Pastor Ben and I were chatting in my office earlier today about Lordship Salvation vs. Free Grace. The question is how much do works play into our salvation. The easy answer is "not at all, read Ephesians 2:8-9." However, then go and read the book of James. You cannot divorce works from salvation or works from faith according to that divinely inspired book.

I think the argument is misleading however. Because ultimately, what we are trying to do by defining the faith vs. works issue is to give us a standard by which we can judge people. How good do they have to be to get into heaven? Can I call them out for their mistakes? Did they pray the right prayer? All those are irrelevant questions. Jesus had a completely different take on this topic. In Matthew 7:3-5,

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

The issue isn't does faith save or works. According to Scripture the answer is a qualified "yes." Both are true to a certain extent. Faith and faith alone saves. But, faith that doesn't produce fruit isn't faith. According to Jesus, Christianity is all about self examination. How are we living? Do we have fruit? If I don't see evidence of fruit in my life maybe I need to start asking some tough questions. If I'm not living it, how can I claim it? If I'm not becoming more like Jesus - however slow a process it is - do I really love Jesus?

I love debating theology. I love the faith/works, Lordship Salvation/Free Grace issues. I hope that these discussions happen among believers as they wrestle with difficult questions. Let us not lose sight of what its all about though - you and Jesus. Did He rock your world like He did mine? Because after what He did for me, I want to make sure I do everything I can for Him!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thoughts for the day...

I read the book of Philemon this morning. It is the 3rd shortest book in the NT. It is a letter written by Paul to a wealthy Colossian man who hosted a church in his home. The verses that stuck out to me are verses 4-5 which say, "I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints..."

Is that what Paul would write about us? Do we have such faith that people thank God for us? Do we have such love that people thank God for us? Is the world a better place because we are here?

I am humbled by the people who have gone before. May we live up to the standard that was set by the saints of old!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grace CC Ministry Survey

We at Grace CC desire our ministries to be as good as they can be at meeting the needs of our people and reaching out to those in our community. As we launch our fall ministries, we would like to hear from our church body how we can improve. Below is a link to a survey about our ministries. We ask every adult regular attender and member in our congregation to take about 10 minutes and honestly answer these questions so that we can accurately listen to our church family! Thank you for your help!

Click here to take the survey.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making the Most of Our Time

It seems that the word evaluation has been tainted over the years. We seem to feel that if we are being evaluated then people are looking for our faults, our mistakes, how they can elevate themselves at our expense.

However, a lack of evaluation can be a tragic thing. For instance, if we never evaluated anything at Grace Community Church (where I am a pastor), we could completely miss the boat and never know it. We must constantly ask ourselves, are we achieving our goals, are we reaching people, are we caring for people, how can we be better. Without evaluation we just stagnate.

Colossians 4:5 says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." We must make the most of our time. That takes constant evaluation. We will be soon be launching a evaluation survey at Grace to make sure we are doing the best job we can to minister to those God has entrusted us with. We hope all those who attend Grace will be a part of it as we strive to become a better church.

However, we must as the same questions as individuals. Am I doing all I can for the kingdom, for my neighbors, for my family, for the world? It may be time for some self-evaluation!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Resolution

I am committing here and now to regularly update my blog. Let's see how long that lasts!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seminary Scholarship!

Going to Seminary is expensive. On top of that, finding a scholarship can be really difficult. That's why I was so excited to find this Seminary Scholarship website today. Not only are they giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship and a digital theological library, all I had to do to apply was watch a short video and answer a few questions! It took less than 15 minutes. What is best of all is that if you're in seminary and apply for the Seminary Scholarship, and put my name as the person who referred you, if you win the scholarship, so do I! We could both get a $1,000.00 scholarship and digital theological library. So, do us both a favor and go apply for the Seminary Scholarship today.