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!