Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Condemned Already

On Wednesday's, on Facebook, we do a Wednesday Bible Study, featuring a RightNow Bible Study link that you can watch, and then comment on.  There is a study guide available for a free download, and it's a neat way to continue Bible Study during our time of trying to stay safe from the virus.

Currently, we're doing a study by Dr. Tony Evans, titled The Gospel of John, and it's a great study, because Tony Evans is a great teacher.  This mornings lesson involved John chapter 3, and if you're a believer, that passage is probably somewhat familiar to you.

It's the passage where Nicodemus, a religious leader, a ruler of the Jewish ruling council, sneaks into see Jesus at night, so no one would see him, and began asking questions.  I like the passage, because Nicodemus is close to the kingdom of God, he has questions, and he knows he won't find answers from fellow Jewish leaders.  He want's to know who Jesus is.  And I admire that in anybody, the boldness and courage it sometimes takes to ask those questions.  Especially from a Jewish leader in Jesus' day.

It's in this passage we see one of our favorite passages, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  

But that's not the verse I want to talk about today.  It's the next verse, verse 17, that I want to look at this morning.  Because while 3:16 shows compassion, 3:17 shows why it's really needed.  Verse 17 reads, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  

I think a lot of people today think that Jesus is a condemning person, that he is always condemning you for having fun, for living the way you might want, for doing what you want. And I admit, it can feel convicting to face your sins and have to deal with them when you want to grow closer to Jesus.  

But the truth is, it's not Jesus that condemns us.  The verse tells us that we are condemned already, we are condemned by our sin.  You are condemned already, because you are a sinner already.  Following Jesus doesn't condemn you.  Following Jesus frees you from the condemnation you're already under.   

Jesus didn't come to rub your nose in it, He came to free you from it.

That's what following Jesus does.  It gives us a way out of our sinfulness.  It's gives a way to address the pain in our hearts, the guilt, the heartache, the lack of feeling, the hurt.  Because those feelings come from a separation from God.  A separation from God comes from our sinfulness.  Address the sinfulness, the feelings of despair go away.  The hopelessness can go away.

Jesus didn't come to condemn you.  He loves you.  He came to rescue you, to save you, to make you right with the God who made you, who also loves you.  

If you would like to know more, please comment or touch base with me.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Daily Devotion | August 13 | More and More

 Here is today's daily devotional thought from Pastor Steve. Today, Pastor continues some thoughts from yesterday's passage on 1 Thessalonians 4:1...


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Devotional thoughts | August 12 | Learning to Live

Pastor Steve shares a short devotion titled learning to live, based on a passage from 1 Thessalonians 4:1. Please leave a comment, I would love to hear what you think...



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 30 | The Awesomeness of God

Here is my daily update and devotion for today, Thursday, July 30, 2020.  Today we look at a vision of Julian of Norwich in the 1300's, to get a glimpse of the awesomeness of God.  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you...




Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 29 | A baby carriage on the beach...

Here is Pastor Steve's daily update and devotion for Wednesday, July 29, 2020.  Today Pastor looks at some thoughts on seeing a baby carriage on the beach...



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Live Update & Devotion | July 28 | Trusting in God

Here is my live update and devotion for today, Tuesday, July 28.  Today I'll be looking at the importance of trusting in God...  Please leave a comment, I would love to hear what you think...



Monday, July 27, 2020

Live Update & Devotion | July 27 | Final thoughts on social regression

Here is my daily update and devotion for Monday, July 27, 2020. today I'll be sharing some final thoughts to the problem of social regression. Please comment, i would love to hear what you think...



Friday, July 24, 2020

Live Update & Devotion | July 24 | Answers to Social Regression

Here is Pastor Steve's live update and devotion for today, July 24. Today he continues thoughts on social regression and Family Systems Theory, with some answers to Social Regression. Thanks for watching, please leave a comment, we'd love to hear from you...



Thursday, July 23, 2020

Live Update & Devotion | July 23 | Social Crisis?

Here is my live update and devotion for Thursday, July 23.  Today we'll be talking about whether might be in a social crisis.  Please leave a comment, we'd love to hear what you think...



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 22 | Does our faith really make a difference

Here is Pastor Steve's daily update and devotion for Wednesday, July 22.  Today Pastor talks about whether our faith really makes a difference.  Check it out!  We would love to hear your comments...



Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 21 | Choosing God in the midst of tragedy

Here is my daily update and devotion for Tuesday, July 22.  Today I'll be talking about choosing God in the midst of tragedy. Please leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts...



Monday, July 20, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 20 | Finding Peace in things we can't understand...

Here is Pastor Steve's daily update and devotion for Monday, July 20, 2020.  Today Pastor Steve talks about finding peace in things we can't understand.  Leave a comment, we would love to hear from you...



Thursday, July 16, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 16 | What is the Church?

Today is Pastor Steve's live update and devotion.  today is Thursday, July 16, 2020.  Pastor Steve is talking about some things that make the church what it is, and what it's intended to be.



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 15 | What is truth?

Here is my update and devotion for Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Today we'll be looking at the question: What is truth?  I'd love to hear your comments...




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 14 | Why humility is important!

Here is my latest update and devotion.  It's Tuesday, July 14, 2020.  Today's thoughts look at why humility is important.  I'd love to hear your comments...



Monday, July 13, 2020

Daily Update and devotion | July 13 | Tithing your time

Here is my live update and devotion for Monday, July 13, 2020. Today we'll be talking about a new thought: What if we tithed our time as well as our money???



Friday, July 10, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 10 | Thoughts on mandatory prayer...

Welcome to my daily update and devotion for Friday, July 10, 2020.  Today, I'll be sharing some thoughts on requiring mandatory prayer.  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts...



Thursday, July 9, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 9 | Surrounded by the love of Christ

Here's is my daily update and devotion for Thursday, July 9, 2020.  Today we'll look at being surrounded by the love of Christ...



Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Daily update and devotion | July 8 | the need for ambition

Here is Pastor Steve's daily update and devotion for July 8, 2020. Today Pastor Steve talks about the need for ambition - but it has to be property guided ambition.



Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 7 | Some tips about doubt

Here is Pastor Steve's update and devotional for Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Today we look at some thought about doubt.



Monday, July 6, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 6 | Spiritual Feeding

Here is my daily update and devotion for Monday, July 5, 2020.  Today we look at spiritual growth, and who it is that is responsible for our spiritual feeding.  It's a great devotion, and you'll get a great RightNow media suggestion.  Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you....



Thursday, July 2, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 2 | Choices

Here is my daily update and devotion. Today is Thursday, July 2, and today, I'll be talking about the choices we make...



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | July 1 | A Prayer from the heart

Here is Pastor Steve's daily update and devotion for Wednesday, July 1. Today we look at a prayer from Richard Foster's book, Prayers from the Heart....



Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 30 | Is home school a good thing?

Here is my live update and devotion for Tuesday, June 30. Today we explore the question: Is homeschooling a good thing?



Monday, June 29, 2020

Update & Devotion | June 29 | The Holy Spirit with You


.Here is my daily update and devotion for Monday, June 29, 2020.  Today we're looking at the Holy Spirit being with you and what that means.



Friday, June 26, 2020

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 25 - some thoughts on fellowship...

Here is my daily update and devotion for Thursday, June 25. Today, some concerns over fellowship in our local churches. Let me know what you think. Thanks for watching!



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 24 - 10 predictions...

Here is my daily update and devotion for Wednesday, June 24.  This morning we'll hear 10 predictions for how life will be as we transition out of Covid-19...




Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 23 - How to Find Peace

Here is my update and devotion for Tuesday, June 23, 2020.  Today, we look at peace.  What is Jesus' peace, and how do I experience it for myself?



Monday, June 22, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 22, 2020 - What are you doing with God?

Here is my daily update and devotion for Monday, June 22, 2020.  Today we look at what are you doing with God?  This virus gives us a good chance to examine our hearts, and make some changes if needed.  So, What are you doing with God???




Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 17 - thoughts on your daily quite time...

Here is my live update and devotion for Wednesday, June 17. Today's devotion gives us some guidance on your daily quite time...



Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 16 - Music to my ears...

Here is my update and devotion for Tuesday, June 16 - today's devotion is called music to my ears..




Monday, June 15, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 15 - You Are Light

Here is my update and devotion for Monday, June 15, 2020.  Today we see that we, as believers, are light, and what that means in the world around us.



Friday, June 12, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 12 - Some thoughts on obedience

Here is my daily update and devotion for Friday, June 12.  Today we look at some thoughts on obedience...  Leave a comment to let me know what you think...




Thursday, June 11, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 11 - Keep on Shaking

Here is my daily update and devotion for Thursday, June 11 - Keep on shaking till there's nothing left but you...




Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 10, 2020 - All things are created by and for Christ...

Here is my daily update and devotion for Wednesday, June 10, 2020. The devotion looks at being created by God and for God, and takes that to an unlikely place... I'd love to hear what you think!




Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | January 9, 2020 - Come, Follow me...

Here is today's update and devotion - Tuesday, June 9. Today we look at whether we should "go over there", or "come, follow me..."




Monday, June 8, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 8, 2020 - The Bride of Christ

Here is my update and devotion for Monday, June 8, 2020.  Today we look at the image of being the bride of Christ...



Friday, June 5, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 5, 2020 - Giving Your Best to the Lord.

Here is my update and devotion for today, Friday, June 5. Today we talk about giving your best to the Lord. Thanks for watching!



Thursday, June 4, 2020

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | June 3, 2020 - Luke Warm Christianity

Here is my daily update and devotion for Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - we will be looking at luke-warm Christianity in today's devotion...




Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion - June 2, 1010 - Be the light of the world...

Here is my daily update and devotion for Tuesday, June 2, 2020.  The topic of today's devotion is how we can be the light of the world...




Monday, June 1, 2020

Friday, May 29, 2020

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | May 28, 2020

Here is my daily update and devotion for Thursday, May 28.  Thanks for watching - please comment...



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | May 19, 2020

Here is my update and devotion for Tuesday, May 19, 2020.  Thanks for watching, and if you would, please like, share and comment - that will help this video spread even further.



Monday, May 18, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | May 18

Here is my daily update and devotion for Monday, May 18.  If you like this, please like, share and comment....



Thursday, May 14, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | May 14, 2020

Here is my daily devotion and update for Thursday, May 14, 2020...  Make sure to comment, I'd love to know what you are thinking. 




Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Daily Update & Devotion | May 12, 2020

Here is my daily update and devotion for today, Tuesday, May 12, 2020. I would love to hear your comments!




Thursday, May 7, 2020

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Friday, April 24, 2020

Update & Devotion | April 24, 2020

Here is my update and devotion for Friday, April 24, 2020.

You'll get to meet my cat, Sunfire, who has spent the majority of his time this morning on my desk.  Thanks for watching....



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Morning Worship | March 22, 2020

Morning Worship at Waverly First Baptist Church, Waverly, NY...  (Don't worry, the video straightens out!)


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus update - this is the video for the earlier post...

An Update from WFB - corona virus updates

The Corona Virus - COVID-19 - continues to bring daily changes to life and ministry in the church.  I wanted to take a minute to bring us up to speed on the changes here at the church.

As I get started here, I want to mention a couple of things so you can see that we have been taking precautions, staying on top the available information and government guidelines, and are making sure we can keep worshipers safe, and being available to minister to those in our church family.

This morning I participated in phone conference with the American Baptist Churches of New York State.  There were about eight different ministry leaders, plus the two representatives from the state, Jerrod Hugenot, the NYS regional Associate Executive Minister, and Dr. Jim Kelsey, the NYS Regional Executive Minister.  Joining me at the church or this call was Mike Davis, representing the Diaconate Board, Mike Fritzen, representing the Praise Team, and Richard Bean, representing the Trustees.  After the phone conference, we talked about further changes at the church, and what it would take to trigger those changes.

While we are staying on top of the issue, we need to remember that in our area, this virus has not gotten a foothold.  As of this morning, there is still only one confirmed case of the virus in Tioga County, and no confirmed cases in Chemung County, or in Bradford Co, PA.

So due to that, we will continue to hold church service this Sunday, March 22, with the following changes:
  • Sunday School will be cancelled
  • Cafe will not open to avoid people congregating in the hallway
  • No Ushers - bulletins will be available for pickup on a table.
  • There will be offering plates on tables in the church, individuals can put in plate before or after service.
  • Seating will be limited to every other row, to insure separation between rows.
  • We strongly suggest the elderly or sick to stay home and consider viewing the service on your computer.  
  • The Service will be broadcast live in its entirety on Facebook Live, with a video link on our Website following the service, to give people an opportunity to participate in the worship from home.
If (or maybe when) the number of cases in our area increases, then we will discuss further, and would cancel services.  Again, I want to emphasize that we strongly urge those who would be more seriously impacted by this virus to stay home.  That would include elderly and those with other pre-existing health considerations.  And if you have concerns about coming to worship, please don't.  Stay home and stay safe.

During this time, if you are not with us in service, and you have prayer requests, you can call the church phone (607-565-9593) and leave a message before 10:30 am on Sunday, and we will have it for the service.  And if you have any comments or questions of me, please feel free to call me direct at 607-242-3722. 

Again, things are changing quickly, so I will be giving some daily updates, along with a short video devotion, at 1:00 pm daily as long as this crisis continues.  You can find these updates and devotions at these places:
These daily updates will originate as a Facebook Live event, so to see it live at 1:00 pm, go to our Facebook page.  As soon as the update is complete, we'll move it tot he other locations as well.

I think I'll move on to a short devotion at this time, again, if you have any questions, call, text or email, and I will respond.  I had just finished Sunday's sermon message yesterday, it was the next in the series that I had put together on Lent.  This morning I feel like I should move away from that message and talk about the idea of identifying those things that are ultimately important in our lives.  We are bombarded in news broadcasts with things that many feel are very important, but in the long run, not the most important.  How do you tell?  Is there a guide?  What is really important.  Here are some thoughts I've been thinking about..

What is important?  I mean really important?  I suspect that for most of us the answer to that question might depend the situation.  It might depend on where we are at the time, or what we’re doing.  Let’s face, there are times that it’s really important to get dinner on the table at a certain time because you have a meeting that night.  Or if the kids are running late, it might be really important to get them going and off to school.  If we’ve lost our jobs, and have been looking for while, it might be really important to find something, anything, to bring in some money and put food on the table.  All those things are important.  And they all seem really important at the time, but in retrospect, I wonder if they are the most important.

With the corona virus, a lot of those things we thought were really important have been moved to the back burner.  Most of our evening meetings have been cancelled, so the need to have dinner on the table  isn't is serious as it was a few weeks ago.  Schools have been cancelled, so the need to get kids out the door isn't gong to be an issue for while.  What we thought was important a few weeks ago, isn't as important as it was. 

But even now, when you listen to the news, you hear of things that they tell you are really important.  Currently, this virus is the most important thing ever.  We’re being told daily how serious this is, and how important it is to take precautions to limit our exposure and reduce our risk of getting infected.  And this is important.  But it's still not the most important?

As Christians, our most important thing is our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our hope, our joy, our comfort, ultimately even our provisions and our health, largely stem from our relationship with Jesus.  That relationship is the most important. 

This virus is important, take precautions, be careful, wash your hands, keep some distance from others, but most of all, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith - that's the most important thing. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Life Together...

One of the emails i like to read daily comes from Outreach Magazine, and it's a summary of daily blogs that are useful to pastors and church leaders.  Today's included a blog by Dave Ferguson titled, "Life Together As a Church."  I found it very useful, and even convicting, so i wanted to share it here.  It applies specifically to pastors, but i think it will be useful...

I know too many church leaders, particularly pastors (in both big churches and small) who are leading a church but are not really a part of the church. They are the up front presence behind the pulpit or on the stage, but when it comes to actually doing life with people in the pews, they are absent. They are not in a small group in the church. They have few friends within the church. These pastors are leading their churches, but are not really a part of their churches.
The isolation, seclusion and loneliness only mimic what is happening all across our Western world. Look at the numbers. Thirty-five percent of Americans report they are “chronically lonely.” Only 8% of Americans report having conversations with their neighbors in the last year. Another report found that 25% of Americans say they have “zero confidants.” Multiple studies have tied loneliness to heart disease, dementia, depression and anxiety. One study found that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. After numerous studies, researcher George Gallup concluded, “Americans are among the loneliest people in the world.”
God is calling us to live differently. Both at the beginning of creation and at the beginning of the church, Scripture reminds that we are better together! As church leaders, we need to live in togetherness and lead in togetherness.
In a culture that encourages a very individualistic approach to life, the general sense of loneliness is exponentially heightened in the life of a church leader and his family. In his book, Pastors at Risk, Chuck Wickman talks about the impact of isolation and loneliness on the pastor and his family. He explains that pastors often feel a deep sense of isolation from others—an inability to connect in significant relationships that bring balance and health. This is due, at least in part, to the distance between pastor and parishioners that we often let define our role. Add to that the care-giving functions of pastoral ministry, and the pastor can be left depleted and unavailable emotionally. 
So, how to do we end up so lonely in a crowded church? Let me give you at least three reasons. 
1. Individualism.  The same thing that made us think we could plant a church often keeps us from being a part of that church. After the French sociologist Tocqueville traveled through America in 1831, he consequently identified “rugged individualism” as the defining American trait. Now almost 200 years later, that “rugged individualism” has contributed to our independence and unmatched entrepreneurship. But it has also created a quiet desperation of loneliness. To live in togetherness, you have to give up—not all, but some—of your autonomy. You have to come under the accountability of other people. To live in togetherness with a church, you have to commit, which means you sometimes miss out on other options. You can’t just do whatever you want, whenever you want, and still live in togetherness. 
2. Idealism.  A second reason I think we avoid living together with our churches is idealism. We get into the ministry with a beautiful vision for what the church could be and should be. It is the idealistic view that also causes some of us to shake our heads in despair and keep our distance. The reason that many of us don’t relationally commit to our churches is because of wildly unrealistic expectations. We keep expecting to find the picture-perfect small group, and it never comes. So, instead of going deep with anyone, we skim the service with everyone. Soon we have been in our churches for three, five or even 10 years or more and we have successfully grown a church, but never actually been a part of one.
3. Intimidation.  Perhaps the biggest reason so many pastors are not experiencing genuine community in their churches is because of intimidation. We’re straight-up scared of intimacy. I don’t just mean those of us who are introverts. Introversion and extroversion have nothing to do with how relational somebody is. Some of the most relational people I know are high introverts. And some of the most individualistic, lonely people I know are high extroverts. We’re scared to live together with our church, because we realize that if we really commit to a community, our real self will come out. And we’re scared of that kind of vulnerability! We know to really experience community and get the most out of it means letting people know our whole selves—the good, the bad and the ugly. Deep down, we think, If people get to know me, I don’t know if they’ll really like me; I don’t even like me. We are intimidated!
Here’s the truth: If we are serious about living as followers of Jesus, we can’t follow him alone. Every Tuesday night, I gather in a home with about a dozen other people who are also trying to follow after Jesus. Often we share a meal. We always study the Bible together. We conclude every evening praying for one another. We have gone through some of life’s greatest challenges: the loss of a child; divorce; death of a parent; financial hardships; the struggle of depression and anxiety and more. We have also grown together: We have learned to love; to be generous; to serve; to fight fair and how to hold doubt and faith at the same time. I love these people and they love me. Together we can get each other through anything—in this life and into the next. 
You need a group like that too. I don’t care what you call it—a missional community, small group or Sunday school class. Togetherness is not optional. Relationships are the catalyst for personal transformation. We are better together. 
Some of my family’s best friends in life have come through small groups. They have helped Sue and me get through some of the rough times in our marriage. They have helped us raise our kids. They have taught us how to manage our money. They have given me an example for how to follow Jesus. We are better together.
The Tuesday night small group I described is also the one I lead. Oftentimes, I will get pushback from church leaders on the idea of leading a small group in their church. They will shake their heads and say, “I can’t do everything!” or “I train others to do that.” I agree that you can’t do everything, and I believe you should engage in leadership training. However, I encourage church leaders to follow this axiom when determining where to use their leadership gifts in the church: lead at the smallest level and at the largest level of your leadership capacity. Read that again and let it sink in.
How do you lead at the smallest level and the largest level of your leadership capacity? If you are in a small- or medium-sized church; at the smallest level, you would lead a small group and apprentice a small group leader(s) and at the largest level also lead in training a leadership resident to plant another church. You would let your high-capacity volunteers, elders and staff do everything else in-between.
In my case, I am pastoring a larger church and also leading a church planting network. So, to lead at the smallest level means I lead a small group and apprentice a small group leader, and for me to lead at the largest level means I’m apprenticing future network leaders to start church planting networks across the country and around the world. The volunteer leaders, coaches, elders and staff do everything else in-between.
Following this leadership axiom—lead at the smallest level and the largest level of your leadership capacity—helps you do the following:
1. Modeling – You lead in creating togetherness in the exact way you are asking others to do it. By leading a small group, you are showing others how to do it and modeling leadership.
2. Storytelling – By leading a small group, you will have stories to tell that will reinforce a culture of togetherness.
3. Impact – By leading a small group and, for example, helping other leaders start churches, you are showing leaders they need to continually be expanding and growing their influence by reproducing at every level.
Living in togetherness is always a part of following Jesus. It wasn’t optional for him. It wasn’t optional for the first apostles. It wasn’t optional for the first Christians, and it’s not optional for us. This community and the unity of this community are absolutely essential for accomplishing Jesus’ mission.
What did you think?  I know this was written for pastors, but all of need to live life in the church.  Few are as plugged in as they could be.  So let me know your thoughts.  Let me know how you might get better plugged into your local church.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Growing in grace and knowledge...



"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory both now and forevermore." 
- II Peter 3:18



Image result for growing in grace
This is how Paul ends his second letter. Much of this letter is spent telling the believers to watch out  false leaders and false prophets. There are people that will come, and perhaps were even there then, that will try to lead believers astray.

One of the chief ways to prevent that from happening, from being led astray, is to be constantly growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. When we know His voice, when we know His commands, and when we are intimately connected to His Spirit, we will know when someone tries to mislead us in issues of faith.

We need to be always looking for opportunities to grow in our faith, to understand our faith better, to know Jesus better and better. This is the most important step you can take in being able to identify false teachers.

No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, the sinful world will always try to challenge our beliefs. There is always room for growth. If every day brings new opportunities to draw nearer to Christ, we will be prepared to stand firm in all circumstances.

So, if you don’t already, begin a reading program to spend a little time each day in reading the Scriptures. Set aside time everyday for prayer. And join others in a Bible Study. You would be surprised how much you learn by discussing Bible passages with others.

A couple of things I would like to see us start would help here.  The Alpha course is a great way to grow.  The course features short videos and discussions, and I’ll probably introduce it in a small group, and then see about offering during the summer to the full church.  The talks each week in the Alpha course can help us to see things in a little different light.  They can challenge us and help us as we grasp at the meaning of our faith. 

Also corporate prayer would help.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we might be able to bring back a Prayer Group, or a time when we could pray corporately, that would look very different from what we used to do, but that would bring us together for a time of prayer. 

Sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone. That’s how we grow, and growth is what living a life of faith is all about. Seek growth, and you will find Jesus.

  “Come my children, listen to me and I will teach you the fear of the Lord…  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  ...