Category Archives: Jesus

Christmas Poem 2014

‘Twas the night before Christmas, yet why do we share,
All the holiday gifts, all the ways that we care?
What’s the reason we bring, the songs that we sing,
The bells that we ring, or the lights that we string?
Why the traditions we hold, the greetings we’re told,
The sayings of old, fun stories retold?

Why do we impress, with our savory fest,
In our proper attire, and our time by the fire?
Or our family we greet, for a day that we’re sweet,
Smiling together we meet, and together we eat?
And so, why is it done, the purpose of fun,
What’s it about, beyond a shadow of doubt?

Why it’s the Savior, of course! The gospel in force,
The reason, the source, of all to endorse,
For without Him, it’s empty, it’s really lacks plenty,
It’s missing a beat, a joy incomplete,
It’s a purpose you miss, a true joy and true bliss,
For Christmas without Jesus, is awfully so grievous,
Because the truth is so near, this truth I hold dear,
The truth is so clear, if only you’d hear.

So as I write this expression, I ask a big question,
And I ask you sincerely, to you I know dearly,
Why the traditions you hold, yet you reject what was told,
Of the Christ child, the King, the hope that we cling, the joy we sing, this marvelous thing?

It seems silly to me, to look and not see,
the hope that’s in me, the life that is free,
For the gospel is in view, and this applies to you too,
when it’s all done and through.
So find Jesus today, receive the gospel and pray,
there’s no need to delay,
And this Christmas I say, that you can find the true Way,
that which the angels displayed, that what the Magi did say.

And when it’s all done, and you’ve heard through and through,
I pray and I hope today’s different for you,
As you grasp with your heart the great gospel in view,
and proclaim with a passion along with me too,
These words of love, the peace that’s renewed:
“Merry Christmas to all, and Merry Christmas to you!”candlelight1

A Prayer for the Prodigal Son

Dear Lord, I bow to You with all I have for this dear child,
My salty tears, my soul bitter and torn, I pray for this lost soul.

The truth has been taught, the love shown, and the life lived, though none of this seems to matter.
None of this has appeared to make a difference.

This soul has left, gone far from the land you have provided.
Covered in sin, focused on self, blinded by the god of this world.

Withering away in turmoil, this child suffers from the evil arrows.
Yet pride works, pleasure imprisons, and this soul wanders without aim.

Shake this earth, Lord, and bring this child home!
Home to the narrow path, the righteous path, the only path.

The examined life worth living
is only worth living in You.

And I will run at the sight of this child, yes, I will run to this soul!
I will embrace while trembling, I will open my home!

I will sing of Your purpose, I will shout of your grace, I will be humbled before You!
I will praise Your victory over sin’s effects, over the turmoils of life!

You are the God of light, the God of love, the God of salvation!
You are the God of a hope and a future!

You have made the difference, O Lord, You have mattered!
To live is Christ, and I know that Your love and truth reigns!

I praise You now with a renewed hope, an awe with tears of joy!
Dear Lord, I bow to You with all I have for this dear child!

See Luke 15:11-32

The Love Chapter

1 Corinthians 13 is known by many as the “love chapter.” Often, when I perform weddings, I get requests for someone to read this passage in the service. It’s a wonderful passage, and it can be applied to marriage, parenting, anything in life, but the original intent was within the context of the church. Watch this awesome video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F9_A7XIU6k

Life as the church is a life of love- we are better together! God has preordained His church of His people to good works, ministry that we do once we are His.

We begin with love, we share with truth, and we live with joy.

How are you loving others this week?

Pastor Fran

Finishing Well…

FinishingIn November of this year, I am planning to run my first ever half marathon (13.1 miles). To do this, I have to train faithfully, pushing myself beyond what I have ever done before. I will be pacing myself, adjusting my stride, mentally monitoring my pace and staying focused along the way. My wife, Teresa, will be with me along the way as she also runs in this event and I hope that we will be able to encourage each other. All in all, my hope is not to start the race well, but to finish it well.

On a similar note, Teresa and I will be attending a state convention sponsored conference soon to help us in our spiritual walk. The Finishing Well Boot Camp is a conference designed to minister to a small group of pastors and their wives. It is a chance for each of us to assess and evaluate our ministry through the eyes of Christ, to encourage us as we look to finish well in him, and to find ways to expand and pass on the ministry to the next generation of leaders. Being that this year marks my twentieth year of ministry in the Lord, this is such appropriate timing!

I am excited about the opportunity that we have to grow in God’s grace as we serve Him. Romans 1:17 says, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (NLT). This reminds me that we are all a work in progress, and we are all growing in our faith. And as we go through life, God works on us to make us right in His sight, from start to finish, by faith.

Training, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, amounts to a degree of dedication and discipline. The same questions that applies to us should also apply to you: How dedicated are you to grow? Are you growing in Christ? Are you making adjustments in your life so that you are finishing well?

Let me encourage you to assess your own walk in the Lord, see where you need to make adjustments, and run with strength and confidence in Him. In Christ, we are all in the same race, the race of life, and the prize of the upward calling in Him is what we strive for as we hear the wonderful words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” May God do a continued work in each of us!

Pastor Fran

Why Am I Discouraged?

38696_1529145115233_1432873828_31339927_4328909_nPsalm 42:5-6, 8: “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God…each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.”

Many of us suffer from the roller coaster syndrome of our faith. We have up seasons in the Lord, as we develop a closeness to Him and feel His presence constantly. We also have down times, times when we are dry, almost estranged from our relationship with God. This is a confusing period, and though we may know in our heads that God will never leave us nor forsake us, we still feel so alone.

Let me encourage you: God has never left you. He is still here, and He is still present. He pours His love in abundance, a love that lets you know that even when you don’t understand the reasons, the circumstances, or the future, you still have Him. It’s a love beyond understanding, a love greater than words.

If you are struggling with discouragement, maybe it’s time to let God take control of your burdens. Maybe it’s time to pour out your heart to Him and trust in His will. God will answer in just the right way and at just the right time of the day or night- He always does. I pray that you will do as the psalmist did and place your hope in God- as you do this, may you enjoy His presence and His incredible love for you!

Pastor Fran

Snow Day for Worship?!?

First of all, I hate cancelling worship. I have always hated cancelling worship. I avoid it like the plague. Yet though deep down inside I felt that something was not right about it, I could never express what the reason was that I had. Until I read this post.

I don’t agree with everything that was written concerning cancellations, but this post did help me to think a bit more about the why of cancelling. Let me then restate some of the thoughts written and add my own on why I want to avoid taking a snow day for worship:

  • First, I never say never. I realize that some conditions merit cancelling worship. However, worship should be the number one priority for the church. Extreme or dangerous conditions may deem it necessary to cancel in the name of safety. There’s no reason to put people in danger, but this action should be taken rarely (if at all). That said, I don’t cancel worship unless it is indeed dangerous. By the way, 1-2 inches of snow is usually not dangerous. Inconvenient, yes, dangerous, probably not. If you doubt this, ask the Minnesotans or Alaskans and you’ll get a hearty Canadian sounding laugh out of them.
  • Second, I also think that other activities are open to cancellation. Team meetings, bible studies, and other activities are not critical if they are missed. We can be flexible and reschedule many of those events. We also have to be flexible in our use of ministries such as nursery and be understanding of those who can’t make it to church for various reasons.

So why is worship so important that cancellation should be avoided at all costs? As the author of the referenced post wrote, the glory of God is shown through worship. Sure, God’s glory is seen in other places such as our homes, our work, and our lives, yet the corporate gathering of God’s people now is a taste of what we will experience when every tribe and tongue will gather before the Lamb. We worship to give God His worthiness in a sacrifice of praise, and if we cancel because of inconvenience, what are we really telling God? As a leader who will stand before God one day, I must proclaim the worship of God with God’s people as most important.

Besides, again as the author wrote, if our brothers and sisters in persecuted countries worship with threat of physical harm, we should likewise be willing to step up and overcome some inconvenience to worship Christ. Our worship together is a show of solidarity for the persecuted church, that though we are absent from their conditions in body, we at least in a small way, are identifying with them in spirit.

I hope this helps. I am an imperfect and frail human, limited by my own knowledge and lack of gifts. However, by the grace of God, I press forward, hoping to see God glorified in a weak man that I am. May God be glorified today as we worship Him!

Blessings to you and yours,

Pastor Fran

Trouble

Matthew 5:11-12 says in the Message translation, “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”

Have you been in trouble, real trouble? There are those who love to stir up things, live drama, loving the soap opera of life, and they go from one crisis to another. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is the type of trouble that comes from those who mean evil for the godly. People who don’t want to face their own issues and cast blame on others, those who, as this text says, avoid the truth about themselves because it is too close for comfort. These are the ones who scream loudest while trying to stir up trouble.

My friend, speak the truth in love. Don’t veer from your mission in life and the message of Christ. Focus on doing things as Christ would, turn the other cheek, and press on. Most of all, count yourself blessed.