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Monday, August 25, 2008

The Church...Why Bother???

Good morning friends. This coming Sunday I will be sharing a message entitled “The Church…Why Bother?” I have wrestled with this question quite often. There are several things that cause me to ask about the church, “why bother?” But somehow I keep coming back because, despite all of the flaws, failures and foibles of life together in Christian community, I have discovered that I need the church. In other words, when it comes to the church, I feel as though I can’t live with her and I can’t live without her. Maybe you feel the same.

I’ll save my reasons for why I sometimes can’t live with the church and why I can’t live without her until this coming Sunday. But I would like to hear from you. Tell me why you have sometimes felt “I can’t live with the church” and/or why you may feel “I can’t live without the church.”

Looking forward to getting some sermon fodder from you,

Pastor Lenny

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And Heaven Rejoices!

Hello, I’m Brad Hockman, Men’s Ministry Director at Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church. Pastor Lenny asked me to write the Monday Morning Devotional for the week while he is at Spruce Lake speaking at the Family Camp all week long.

The three parables in Luke 15 show extreme joy in Heaven when the lost are found! My life is very similar to the younger son in the Parable of the Lost Son. I left home when I was 15 and it was not on the best of terms. I separated from my parents for several years. Before reconciling with my parents, it was all about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. I lived my life my own way, which was far from God’s way.

I reconciled with my earthly father long before my Heavenly Father. It’s awesome that you can take 20 steps away from God, but it takes only one step to return to Him. Now that’s amazing grace! I turned onto “God’s Way” three years ago and my life has improved dramatically. I’m sure there was joy in heaven when I met Pastor Lenny on the front steps of SWC for the first time!

The older brother, who thought himself far more worthy, refused to join the party. His attitude is like that of the Pharisees, who took great pride in proving their superiority.

Of the two brothers, which one reminds you of your own story?

How can you relate to the younger son?

I’ve been to a distant land.
I’ve struggled with wild living.
I’ve been flat broke.
I’ve struggled with deciding to return home
I’ve received my father’s forgiveness

Spiritually, which road are you on?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yesterday I preached a message called Viewer Discretion Advised which highlighted the problem, response and solution to the monster of internet pornography. The goal of the message was to authentically offer grace, hope and help to those stuck like a fly to the fly-strip of this struggle. I closed the service with a quote from James 5:11b which says “God is full of compassion and mercy.” We concluded the service with a Question and Answer time regarding the issue of internet porn.

Here is what I want us to discuss: Beyond the resources I shared yesterday to help those who struggle (God, confession, accountability and removal of temptation), what other resources are available to assist those who struggle with internet porn? Also, what do you believe is at the root of this? Is it lust only, or are pride, discontent, depression, control, etc., factors in the development of this addiction?

Looking forward to your thoughts,


Monday, August 4, 2008

Are You a Chronic Complainer?

Today I begin the ministry of my Monday Morning Blog. Every Monday I will share some insights from Scripture as they relate to what God is teaching me. You are invited, and encouraged, to respond with your own reflections and questions. In order to follow the thread of discussion or post a reply you will need to click on the word "comment" below this post. Beware that your comments will be accessible to all- good accountability, don't you think?

As you hopefully know by now, at least if you attend Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church (SWC) where I serve as lead pastor, we are experiencing a 30 Day Bible Living Adventure. We read a chapter each day and prayerfully apply something from that reading that God spoke specifically to our hearts and into our lives.
This morning as I read James 5 I was surprised by what struck me most. It was James 5:9 "do not complain against one another." I was surprised by this because I view myself as someone who tries to be positive about the potential of others. I try to show grace toward those who may rub me the wrong way. But, in essence, God was showing me that I am not as far along as I think I am.
My wife tends to be the safest place for me to vent my compliants about others, but God is challenging me to bring my complaints and concerns about others to Him. So, today when I am tempted to complain about people or problems, I will simply keep quiet and pray to God. I will also, in prayer, reflect upon the source of my complaint (i.e., anger, jealousy, fear, the past) as well as the good qualities of that person.
Here is the discussion question: How have you or how do you overcome the human tendency to complain against others? I'm looking forward to your comments!
Pastor Lenny