Monday, August 29, 2016

Feeling like a Failure

Have you ever felt like a failure?

I mean, have you ever given something or someone your everything? And at the end of the road, at the end of that day you feel like nothing? You feel useless or empty... Like nothing you've done mattered?

Maybe it was a person you put all your love into, maybe it was a business or a job, maybe it was a ministry... Maybe it was people... I've spent a good portion of these past three years pouring myself into ministry and people... Loving people like I've never loved people before, caring about their lives, their hurts, pains, struggles, the good, bad, and the ugly... 

And although so many people have been amazing, there are always those who make you feel worthless, like a failure, leaving you asking yourself, "did I just waste all this time for nothing?" It is so easy to feel like a failure, it is in our humanness that failure lives, because as Followers of Jesus Christ we ultimately know that although we may be failures, Christ will never fail us! 

But that doesn't take the sting of failure away does it... Nope, it would be so much easier if it did... The reality is we fail all of the time, people and things or positions will fail you all of the time, because if something didn't ultimately fail us, we wouldn't need to place our hope and trust in the only thing that never fails...

Jesus Christ!

I constantly feel like a failure, as a man, a parent, a husband and a pastor, as a friend and a family member... I can reach into the file so easy and pull up one failure after another of times I've been a failure in these areas and plenty more...

But Christ died that we could be free'd from being failures ultimately, because ultimately Christ died because of the ultimate failure, Adam failing in the garden of Eden... So we have to realize that if Christ so died for Adan's failure, then we know, "That yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins" So if this is true, and yet while we are failures in the human sense, or new life in Christ makes us victors, not failures! Not because of anything that we did, but only through the death of Jesus Christ, could the free gift of salvation be offered to mankind.

So the next time (and I'm preaching to myself here too), you feel like a loser, or a failure, like a reject... Realize that the God in Heaven took a long hard look at your failure, and Said, "This one I love!"

God loves you in spite of your failures, that he sent his only begotten son to die on a cross, for you and just you!

God bless you and keep you always

The Pudgy Pastor

Monday, June 13, 2016

When God Uses inconvenience

Tonight I experienced something truly ground breaking... I've scene it before, I've experienced it before, but tonight, "God used an inconvenient situation for his glory." 

As I sat in the ER waiting room at a local hospital, awaiting my mother to be checked out, two families entered into the waiting room, the frantic and panic stricken faces and behaviors told a story of something traumatic.

I eavesdropped, a car wreck, sounded like 3 individuals involved, I sat in my chair listening to music and mostly trying to mind my own business. I listened to music, watched stuff on youtube, but something kept stirring in my heart... and the longer I ignored it or tried to push it back down, the harder it pressed.

"Pray for them." the urging in my heart was saying, at first I hesitated, but then quickly started saying a silent prayer. Thinking to myself, "this should satisfy this prodding." But alas I was mistaken. The urging became louder and louder, as if a bass drum in my head was connected directly to my heart, "Pray for them." specifically the grandmother, she was whom God was pushing me towards... The grandmother would constantly look my way, and although I recognize that it could have just been coincidence, I kept feeling like she was saying, "Please pray with me." when she gave me a glance...

This honestly went on for a couple of hours, I kept praying under my breath, the urging continued to grow... Then I knew that they were about to leave... "It's now or never!" I thought to myself, so I stood up, walked over to the grandma, and said; "I know this might seem awkward, but could I pray for you all?" An astonished look came over this woman's face, but followed quickly with; "Yes" I proceeded to say that I had been praying pretty much since this family and the other came in. We prayed, and in the end, with tears in her eyes, she said, "Thank you, so much" I gave her a hug and away they went...

I never got their names, not even the names of their girls... but that wasn't the point...

Here is the point

I could, and initially approached last night/early this morning, as an inconvenience, I was worried about my Mom, and really just wanted to be left alone in my thoughts. However, God had other plans for this morning. So here is the point, "Do you miss out on the prodding of the Holy Spirit?" I think the honest answer is yes, we all miss the boat. So I believe that we should shift our focus, instead of looking at a situation as, unfortunate or, an inconvenience. Much like I initially did, we should strive to allow God to be shown in the midst of unfortunate or inconvenient situations. God made his love perfectly clear to this family last night... or this morning I should say. So as you sit in situations that may or may not be inconvenient, allow for God to use these situations for God's own Glory! The Holy Spirit will prod and move your heart towards who He intends. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

I'm broken

I'm Broken

And that's okay

We live in a day where the rhetoric is, "Everyone is the best 'them' they can be" meaning that we are told that we should be okay with our self image, that whether we are fat, skinny, tall or short, that we all have value, and I agree with this, but not as the world does. You see the world would have us believe that "Everyone is Amazing" because Humanism suggests "You make yourself amazing" that it's your personal effort that makes you valuable, that relativistic thought makes us all okay, because we are all individuals, so value is placed based simply on the fact that you are you... 

But the sad reality is that if it's up to me to place value in myself or others, then Nihilism that Frederich Nietzsche taught is actually practical, and hence forth this life is simply void of any meaning and here is why... People fail, those who consider valuable to your self-image will ultimately fail you, they will betray your trust and hurt, your feelings, your self-image, your value, we usually understand all of that. However we don't usually bring this one up; We will fail ourselves... Our self-image and our value we feels usually derives from others, but even when we recognize that others may fail, our self-value or worth is a slippery slope when it isn't grounded to something. People try and find value in all sorts of things; i.e. Money, Status, Relationships, Work, etc... but that value still fails... Even when these previous things remain true it can still leave a feeling of worthlessness, or loneliness... because I believe these things try to fix a broken part of you, it's a specialized part, it's not interchangeable with other models or years, Sure you might be able to squeeze it in there, and it may work for a moment, but ultimately it too, will fail, leaving you feeling empty, and missing something. 

So I propose that we change how we look at out self image, while the world says that we are just fine the way we are. I propose that we are not okay. The danger in the sense of being okay with who you are, is that without the the maker who made you and I, our personalities, or quirks and awkwardness, we will continue to lie to ourselves believing that we are somehow the utopian ideology of mankind. That we are not in need of being fixed, because we are a byproduct of humanistic chance. But when we are honest with ourselves we recognize this, "We are totally and utterly bankrupt without God in our lives" Now the non-believer will again argue that this isn't true, but honestly if you ask them, there is always something missing in their lives, they wont admit it... but it's there, possibly long forgotten, like that little trinket in that box in the back of the attic or garage. When you find it you embrace it for a time, reconsider it's value, but ultimately you placed it back in the box, glad you found it but only for the sentiment of it all. We as believers understand the moral absolute bankruptcy without Christ in our lives. 

I myself understand that my identity without Christ led me down some dark paths, full of sin, and relationships that led to an abandoned feeling. It was in those moments all those years ago that I learned this important truth, "I am utterly broken as an individual, unable to attain true peace and happiness through futile methods of relationships, money sensuality, and status." It left me broken, empty inside, although I had been a believer for years I had morally bankrupted myself to a point of despair, to suicidal thoughts, to lonely corners of dark rooms... to drinking... It was in this moment that I realized this, "It's okay that I'm broken" not because I or anyone else should be completely satisfied in their broken state, however because I recognized how truly broken I was and am, I realized that Christ could mend me together... The words of the Apostle Paul give us light into this; "For godly grief (sorrow in the NIV) produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death." 2nd Corinthians 7:10 

So glad i'm broken

You see, my sorrow or grief was that which leads me to understand that I am and will always be in need of a savior who can fix me, like a glass that has fallen to the floor and shattered, no matter the number or how fine the pieces of my heart are, it is and will always be God, Jesus Christ who can and will knit them or glue them back together. You see the danger in worldly thinking or sorrow/grief is this; You can live your entire life believing that your okay, that although your heart is broken because of the failed relationships, the failed bank accounts, the foreclosures, the failures in status... you can have a million broken glasses in a box in the back of the attic or garage, hiding... eating away at your mind, destroying future relationships and opportunities. until you realize that Christ is your identity and fulfillment, you will continue to live an empty life... Additionally as Paul states, "worldly grief produces death." these failures I mention, will sometimes like in the example of my life, can lead to ultimately dark places like suicidal thoughts... But I don't believe that this was Paul intention...

Than what is worse than physical death

Simply, Eternal Death... complete and total separation from a loving and Holy God... To live that life apart from him is to spend eternity separated from God's presence... That is something I don't wish upon anyone, not my friends and family, or my enemies or complete strangers... Hence why I am so burdened to share this with you all today... Because although I admit to being completely and totally broken, bankrupt, weak... My God! he scooped me up, all the broken little pieces, and he took the painstaking time to piece me my fragile heart back together, it is in Christ that my identity rests. I tried being identified by the things of this world, but all the money, status, and all the other Stuff failed me... It is only in Christ that I have become satisfied with being a broken individual. 

So my hope for you who read this; "Fight the temptation to be defined as the world would define you, and find your rest and identity in Jesus Christ." Who loves you, just as you are, but too much to see you stay where you are. Who will and has mended the broken pieces of your hearts back together. and is awaiting you with open arms!

God Bless you all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Matter of Faith

A Matter of Faith

What Faith is, and What it is not

So accordingly, if you were to ask most Bible Believing Christians, what "faith" means, they might say something like...

"Faith is believing in something you can't see."

or, maybe something like this...

"It's like oxygen, you can't see, feel, or taste it, but you know it's there."

But the reality is, faith isn't some meager concept that we can simply brush of as a feeling, or give arbitrary answers like the oxygen analogy. A Christian's faith is extremely important. It is essential to understanding the gospel, and ultimately our Lord and Creator, God.

So, what is faith?

Simply put, faith isn't a feeling or a "I just know, because of faith" gimmick in all actuality, faith is far more scientific than most people give credit to. Faith isn't just believing in what cannot be seen, but is done through research, evidence, and ultimately through what modern empirical science calls the "Empirical Leap" what a laymen's term is called a "Leap of Faith" now a leap of faith, might sound no different than saying, "Faith is believing in something you can't see." But in actuality it is so much more... take for example...

Theistic Creation vs. Atheistic Evolution

So not to create to much of a debate issue over a blog, If you disagree, I'd ask that you kindly allow me to illustrate... I propose that Creation and Evolution both at some point have to make a "Empirical Leap" this is purely based out of the law's of Modern Science which proposes that anything that can not be observed can be dubbed as scientific, observation by definition is that which can be either seen visually, touched... tested... so let's play this out... i'll start with Evolution


- The process of the origins of the universe basically works this way; their was a collection of matter, particles etc. that exists in space, or pre-space... as the particles or atoms rotated they became tighter and tighter until they collided, creating an explosion, or a "bang" as some have dubbed. This process is the onset of all creation through a chance situation, which through chemical composition or chance chemistry all life was started. Now I am no scientist... therefore I only understand the major concepts. This by definition cannot be considered science under Modern Empirical Science, because it is not by definition empirical or observable... although they have created a particle excelerator, that can mimic particle collision, they conveniently forget that they've created an environment where they can collide the particle, the big bang  in and of itself cannot be re-created... or observed physically, so Humanist or Evolutionary Scientist propose this happened by the collection of evidence that seemingly supports their presupposition that life was created through this method.

However because it cannot be supported through observable science, it is in essence only a theory, but it's evidence leads humanistic science to the empirical conclusion that this is a logical explanation of the creation of the universe, however seeming that in and of it's self isn't observable, it requires faith to believe it. but you see it was educated faith, based upon evidence, leading to an empirical leap... 


I purpose that Creationism especially that through Theistic Creation, or meaning that God created the Universe and everything in it. Such is the Christian/Judeo, Islamic, and most other religions believe that this happened, whether through a monotheistic theology or a pantheistic theology (Mine being Monotheistic = One God) believe that this happened. But again like Evolution creation isn't observable under the law's of Modern Science, and I wont argue that, however I will put forth the hypothesis that Creation makes more sense that the origins of the universe that humanism supports... So in keeping with the empirical nature of science, and purposing that Creation is a viable and trustworthy theory, we look at the evidence of creation... starting with the Holy Scripture... The Bible being our first piece of evidence, which promotes that God created the earth/universe etc. Which humanist would question, isn't a viable piece of evidence, because; "It has been manipulated by man" or "It's just a bunch of fairytales." however it is without question by scholars through-out the ages that the bible has been the only book to stand the true test of history... The first author being Moses who wrote the Pentateuch (The first five books of the bible). but the stories in these books dates from far before, talking about such things as the Samarians, ancient Egypt, and ancient cultures, talking about the "great flood" and other writings, although the critic would try to discredit the bible by saying that it borrowed from other belief's and or writings of that timeline. but the proof of authenticity (in the other historical writings) must be shown for that to be true, Critics will simply point to some hieroglyph or some scroll that has a date later than the events told in scripture... simply there is always a logical and rational explanation for every critique in the Scriptures, and seeming the bible has infact stood the test of historicity and authenticity, Christian's can safely assume that it is in fact a trust-worthy piece of evidence... Additionally, we can look at other theories such as Complex Specificity and, Irreducible Complexity, both have logically and rationally given evidence and proof of lifeforms and organisms that are either too complex, or specific to reduce them to the evolutionary theory. Additionally we can look to Astrophysics and the complexity of the universe, and beg the question, "Is it really practical to believe that a chance happening, created such a finely tuned group of algorithms and mathematic equations that is our universe?" But I digress...

The Christian Theistic Creationist, takes the amount of evidence, built upon empirical evidence supporting that evidence (i.e. the Scriptures). And then because again like evolution it cannot physically observe the creation event, we make the same empirical leap to support our theory...

So what's the point...

So basically I propose that both the Humanist/Evolutionist and the Theistic-Creationist have faith, this faith is not blind, but in all reality it is educated faith. I believe that God desires the believer to educate themselves, this is seen in several places in scripture where either Paul or other's warn the church, "guard yourselves" from false teaching, for wolves will come among you etc. To guard ones self is to prepare for an attack, in our case it is to be educated in our scriptures, educated scientifically to give an answer to those who question God... because if were not prepared, we can be taken off guard, and seeds of doubt have a funny way of working their way into our lives...

So faith is to be prepared, to educate oneself in the ways of the Lord, in science and understanding, to test what is put before you, to challenge false teaching.

Faith is not simply saying, I believe because I believe...

Now having said this, I too understand that there are those who don't desire to have such a heavy burden of knowledge upon you... I get that, there are times when it's best when it has been left simple... What I am merely asking is that you make a concerted effort to understand what you believe, to train up others in what they should believe

In the end it is to treat each other with love and kindness, respect, and understanding. Thank you for taking time to read this blog, I hope it helped you, and was not a hinderance to your faith.       

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

You Won't Relent

One of my favorite songs is, "You won't relent" by Jesus Culture.

In its very essence is the driving passion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He never ceases to pursue his prize, every person that walks the face of the earth are the object of Christ's love. He so desires to be the object of our desire, something that the song clearly states...

"You won't relent until you have it all"

Showing that Jesus isn't satisfied with just your mediocre efforts, he tells the Laodiceans in Revelation,

"I wish that you were hot or cold, but because you are not, I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

The idea is that the Laodiceans were riding the fence of faith, not living in the world, but being worldly... But additionally I see God's heart for his believer, not 50% or even 98%, but all in, he desires that we give him as much as he gave you and I in relentless pursuit of our soul. But this idea goes well beyond the believer.

Romans 5:8
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

God's relentless love started before you believed in Jesus Christ, this gives the magnificent realization that Christ died for our sins before we ever committed them. That is because Christ died for you before you or I were born!

That is relentless love! So we gallantly accept this love, we feel forgiveness and grace pour over us sinners... But we often forget Romans 5:8, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners, it also means that Christ died for you enemies, for your neighbor or co-worker that doesn't believe in Jesus, he died for your brother, your sister, yes even your in laws....

God's amazing love, it is relentless, in pursuit of people til death do we part... It never fails, it bridges over theological gaps, and is worthy of praise.

But we must also, as believers, relentlessly pursue non-believer's in the same love and grace that Jesus pursued us, when we were yet non-believers. We are truly at war, but our battle isn't against flesh and blood, but against spirit! If we aren't in pursuit of non-believers, don't fool yourself into thinking, that the enemy isn't in pursuit of them either! We are in a race against time, God desires that no one should perish, but that all should have eternal life! Hence God is in pursuit of all people!!!! And he has been since before the creation of humanity! That is relentless love! Filled with love and compassion, stepping in, in the midst of our struggle and pain! Telling us that he loves us! Regardless of what you've done or said... He loves you right now! He's not after some fairy tale version of you, he wants you in all your discontent, in your pain, your anger, your failure!!! He won't relent! Not until he has you!

I hope that this message encourages you to know that our lord and God loves you so much!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Arguments, frustrations, and differences

Arguments, Frustrations, and Differences

Handling conflict between fellow believers

The Major Problem

Ok, so writing this; first off I must say, this isn't intended to be finger pointing, or directed at any one individual or person, but is highlighting a major problem in Churches all across the Church. Conflict! there I said it... whether arguments, frustrations, or differences between fellow believers in a church, or across the street at home, or at work. We are all vulnerable to conflict with other people, because... well, were all people. As people, or human beings, we are prone majorly to error, so it is only natural that we wont always get along with everyone we come across in our lifetimes. In fact, if we are being honest with each other we could name at least one person in our church family that we don't like, that we differ from, are frustrated with, or have even argued with...

Getting along with people isn't supposed to be pain free, "Doing Life" as we try and promote at Valley Christian Church, isn't supposed to be easy, but it is supposed to happen non-the-less. There is a biblical mandate for unity within the Bride of Christ, I mean Jesus prayed for it; "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that they world may believe that you have sent me." And it goes on and on for a while, that comes out of John 17:20 - 21 it additionally continues, "The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." Now those were some pretty specific words that our Savior and Messiah prayed to his Father in Heaven... and they are important, that prayer is known as one of the greatest prayers through-out scripture, because it highlights one of Jesus desires for his bride, "The Church." 

So if Jesus desired unity in the church, then why is there so much turmoil in the church? Why do we as fellow Christian's deal harshly with our own kind? Simply because we aren't perfect, we screw things up all the time, which is why God gives grace, because God in all of his knowledge, knew that we wouldn't get it write all of the time, so he gave us his Word in Jesus Christ to show us how to get along through conflict, how to forgive and give grace to each other...

Ok, so where are these "Instructions"...

It is a true statement that Jesus spoke many commands or instructions through-out the gospel, in one specific location though Jesus instructed his disciples and subsequently all believers how to handle differences between believers, most bibles probably title this little section, "If Your Brother Sins against You" and it comes from Matthew 18:15 - 17, It reads this way, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone..." Let me stop right there for a second, how many of us read these words and cringe? (I'm raising my hand) Most don't desire confrontation with each other, but Jesus clearly instructed his disciples to confront him/her in their fault in private... this aids in one big area... GOSSIP! When you feel as you have been wronged it is required of believers to take our grievance to the person responsible and settle it privately, not publicly... Let's continue; "If he listened to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."

So what we should understand from this passage of scripture... Seek to Resolve matters of grievance in private. Additionally that when we fell that someone has wronged us, or sinned against us, don't please don't go and talk to other people about it, your last resort should be making that wrong that they committed against you public. We must strive to live godly lives, and continue to operate in the Grace of Jesus Christ, and be willing to give this grace to those who persecute you.... which I believe is scriptural... 

Additionally, and even harder is the concept that when someone has committed a grievance against you, you must also forgive them... Now while you could argue against me, it's much harder to argue against scripture, so turn if you will over to 2nd Corinthians 2:5 - 8, "Now if anyone has caused pain, he cause caused it not to me, but in some measure not to put it too severely - to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So i beg you to reaffirm your love for him."

You see, Paul wrote these words because some had caused him great pain... The Corinthian church had taken care of the problem, the excommunicated (removed) that person from their membership, but after that Paul called for forgiveness and more importantly full reconciliation... This shows us that we must forgive and more forward when people "wrong" us... I'm not claiming that it is easy, and it isn't supposed to be, but as followers of Christ we are required to forgive, to seek reconciliation with our fellow believers, meaning those people that you don't always see eye to eye with, those whom you've been talking about behind their backs, those whom have said things about you.


Ok, so in the end, we as Christian's must remember that "If Christ was able to forgive you, than you need to forgive others." pretty simple really, we have been tasked with being in Unity, forgiving those who trespass against us, And finally, Seeking full reconciliation... When we do these things as Christ instructed us to do we are living in harmony with God and our fellow believers

So, I know that this blog might have been heavy for some of you readers, it was for me too, it caused me to reflect on my relationship's with people... My prayer for us as believers is that we aren't to quick to become angry when someone has wronged us, that when someone has done so, that we take that grievance to them directly and quickly (Pray first!). so that reconciliation can be made. 

God bless you guys, and thanks for checking out The Pudgy Pastor!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Mercy I Don't Deserve, and Neither Do You

That Moment

That moment that you realize that everything isn't about you, never has been, and never should have been. It took me a long time to realize that my life was not my own, my decisions, my wife, my son Elijah... Nothing was mine, the money in my bank account, to the house we rent in Fruitland... Nothing belonged to me truly, because in reality it belongs to God... All of It!

This was humbling to realize, because it means letting go, letting God take control of everything in yours and my humble little short lives. Along with this humbling feeling I also had the revelation that I don't even deserve to be loved by Christ! I listened as someone (whom I can't remember) said, "willing to believe in the forgiveness of Christ is easier than being willing to forgive ourselves."  And how true that statement is, for in the title alone of this little blog, it declares that while I know that Jesus Christ has forgiven me of all the sins in my life, the ones i've already committed and the one's i've yet to commit. in my heart I still don't get it... "How could Christ so easily forgive, what I can not?" 

If your reading this and you have asked the same question, then you know that you aren't alone. for even Pastor's struggle with this situation. I know in my heart that I have been forgiven, but there are things in my life, situations and choices that i've made that I can't allow God to forgive me for. And that's the key isn't it? I can't allow God to forgive, and how ridiculous i sound to myself right now writing this down, I can't allow God, who forgives all and every sin, no matter what it is.. to forgive me. Yet I am forgiven? Seems like an odd psychotic interchange in my head...

The reality is that You and I have been forgiven! We must be able to acknowledge the forgiveness that exists for all who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior. No we don't deserve mercy yet even though this is true, Christ still willingly gave his life for all of those who claim him. 

"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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."       John 3: 16 - 17  

Verse 17 is the one that sticks out in my mind when I struggle with the above problem, i'm not perfect and neither are you, yet because of John 3:16 - 17 and continuing show that Jesus while knowing that we don't deserve mercy, still willingly gave of himself that you and I might not be sentenced to death as we so rightly deserve, but Jesus as propitiation (meaning one who steps in and takes your punishment), stood in our place, taking our punishment for our sins, our transgressions, our faults! So we don't deserve Mercy, yet mercy is what we have found in Christ, not judgement or condemnation, mercy.

My hope for those reading this article, is that you realize that because you have been given mercy and grace, that others are deserving of the same grace and mercy. We have a reason for living, a reason for existing and it is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. God bless and remember to remain fixated upon Christ!