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God Bless,

Paul

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Standing in the Gap (A Poem)

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Christ has chosen to stand where I could not stand.
He has chosen to live a life that I could not.
He chose to die the death we all should die.
And now he stands where I can not.
He has returned to his rightful place,
and bids me to come near.
It is only because of his scars,
I can approach the throne without fear.
He is no longer as he was, but is now as he is to forever be,
marked and scared by me and you on his way to calvary.
He has given to me his righteousness,
despite the cost.
He stands where only he could, because bulls and goats do not suffice.
He stands where only he can, because he paid our debt with his life.
Let us always praise him,
for he deserves that and so much more.
Let us bow, kneel and stand as we praise him,
to show Jesus it is him we adore.
Let us never forget the price he paid, so dear.
May we always love Christ, while the time is near.
Because he stood where we could not stand,
because we would surely fall.
Christ stands in the gap for us,
biding us to cross.
To cross over from sin and death,
to life and love everlasting.
All because he stood where we could not stand. filling in the gap for me.
Filling the gap for me!

How Can You Be An Everyday Hero?

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This head line seems to just about sum up all to be said. But, sometimes all we need is a hero, someone to step in and save us from our lives. There are a lot of times we don’t care where this so called hero comes from. I got the idea from watching a movie, specifically DareDevil.

This hero can come in many forms. It could be your local cashier at Wal-mart, or your barista at Starbucks. You never know you could become someones hero. By the smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference. I have witnessed it many times in my own life how something as simple as a phone call can turn someone’s day/week around. It seems inconsequential to us but to that person it means the world.

Being a hero doesn’t always have to be some extreme event like those portrayed on TV and in the movies. You don’t have to rescue someone from a car wreck or a burning building. Take a co-worker out for coffee and get to know them a little bit better. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while and go to lunch.

One of the best things you can do is volunteer. Especially with organizations like the Cub Scouts and feed in to the lives of young children. Help to mold them into model citizens. Or another way you can serve is by getting involved with a local food pantry or a similar type institution. By doing these random acts of kindness and giving back to the lives of others you are being an everyday hero.

Christ told his disciples if they saw one hungry to feed them, or naked to clothe them and if they did it for the least of them the did it for him. In another place it speaks of doing well for a stranger and you may have entertained an angel. So you never quite know who you are doing the good work for. So always be vigilant and let your good work become God’s work.

I long to hear the stories you will have of all the good you have been doing. By God’s grace I lead a few Bible studies, and a cub scout den.

My question to you is how can you be an everyday hero now?

Do You Have One Word for Your Year?

There is a movement going on right now called “one little word”. Where you pick one word you are going to help guide your year. I thought I’d join in on this movement and make my “one word” PERSEVERE. I have so many things going on in my life right now I need to have perseverance to make it through. It would be simpler to just give up and quit. Lord knows there have been times I have wanted to quit school.

 

It just isn’t easy. Life that is. Trying to raise a family and go to school, now I’m leading a Tiger den (cub scouts). I’m hoping to keep at my writing not only for you guys, but because it does me good. I’m going to persevere. Why choose this word when there are millions of other words that could have been chosen?

 

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Like I said previously, it’s easy to want to quit. However, I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. I have ten classes left including the three I will be taking in the spring. As long as I keep on the same schedule/course I’m on right now I will be done with my Mdiv in the Spring of 2016.

 

I don’t have all of the answers right now nor will I ever. As long as I choose to persevere I will win in the long run. Not at just anything but at the goal I have set of earning a degree. People are amazed when I tell them how many credit hours my Mdiv is (93 if you’re curious). I have had several people tell me that the amount of work I am putting in I could have earned a doctorate in a different field. All I can say is WOW!

 

What gives me the drive to persevere? The only answer I have is God. It is something I feel called to do. I have felt called to be in pastoral ministry since I was 21ish. There is no better feeling than standing before a group of people and telling them about God’s word. Writing and interacting with you all is a close second. I am starting to wonder am I called to be an author as well as a Pastor. Why should it have to be an either/ or situation?

 

My question to you is what is your one word going to be for this year?

Why You Shouldn’t Read the Bible in a Year

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I recently read a well argued article on 3 reasons why you should read the Bible in a year. While David does a good job in arguing his point I think reading the Bible in a year is over rated. So many people make it a resolution that they are going to read it through starting the New Year and fall off. I think it is easier to make a resolution that you are going to read for 20-30 minutes a day or set a number of chapters you are going to read.
Then you have those people who make reading the Bible in a year a legalistic act. Like somewhere in the Bible it says “Thou must readith me in a year.” While it is noble for you to want to read the Bible in a year don’t do it if it is going to make learning more difficult, or less enjoyable. I would say only do it if you know you can stay committed to the heavy reading that is going to be involved.
Also in the article he mentions biblical literacy. As you take your time to read you should be able to retain more information. Which in turn will help you to become more biblically literate. That does not mean you will not need outside help like commentaries or a study Bible to help you understand some of the nuances of Scripture.
He also says that is is spiritual food and with that point I do agree. You cannot survive as a Christian without feasting on the Word. But that feast doesn’t mean you have to take in more than you can handle because some plan tells you too. By taking in what you can you will have a chance of better retention.
And it requires discipline to read the Bible with any kind of regularity. While DAILY is BEST, reading it several times a week is better than just cracking it open for Sunday service.
So the points David makes I agree with that it is spiritual food, it increases biblical knowledge and builds discipline. Where we diverge is that it requires the Bible to be read in a year. I have read the Bible cover to cover 1x and have read it as a whole several times reading it 1-4 chapters a day.
What do you think should the Bible be read in year or is it okay to take longer?

What is cloudHQ?

If you are like me you probably have never heard of cloudHQ. That was until a few weeks ago. I do A LOT of writing in Evernote and while it is cloud based I like knowing I have my files saved somewhere else. With Evernote there is no way to directly sync the program to another cloud based service. I personally have chosen to use Dropbox. This is where cloudHQ comes into play it is the go between Evernote and Dropbox it has automated my sync between the two. It creates a separate PDF for each new document I create. You can try the program out for free for 2 weeks and see if it’s something you like. It doesn’t have to be just for Evernote and Dropbox, it can be Gmail, Google Drive, Amazon cloud drive, and several others.
If you have documents that you want to keep automatically backed up from certain programs I would highly recommend using cloudHQ to automate this process. To find out more about this program visit cloudHQ.
I have written this review/information to gain more access to this program.  I hope that you have found it informative and helpful.

God Bless,

Paul

Learning Where You Can

There aren’t a lot things we can learn from a show like Sons of Anarchy. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn somethings from it. This scene takes place moments before Jax kills his mother. Before she dies she tells him it’s okay for him to kill her because it’s what they do. This is a good time to speak about grace. We are given grace by God to be forgiven and to forgive even those things that seem unforgiveable. Romans 12:19 tells us not to seek vengeance on our own.
We are called to live in the world and not of it. That means I can live in Christian liberty to watch this show and try and find redeeming value from it. There will be some of you out there who will argue with me that I am wrong and that is your prerogative to have. I will continue to be a fan of this show, despite the nature of it. It is not something I push on other people, I allow each persons conscience to  guide them. If you are not engaging in things of the world how are you going to be able to impact the world. The Apostle Paul engaged in the world when he was in Athens at Mars Hill he spoke the words of their writers. There are many different things in life we need to look at and try and find the redeeming value in it, whether it is a book, blog or a television show. We can almost always find something to learn from every endeavor we enter upon. I argue that once we can find the redeeming value in anything it is able to help us grow.
It is my hope that this post will make you think about things in your life that you need to look for the redeeming value in. I have been able to look for God in this show despite its hard hitting nature and narrative.

Richard M. Hannula’s Bitesize Biography of Samuel Rutherford

Richard M. Hannula’s Bitesize Biography of Samuel Rutherford was a delightful read. It is about the Scottish pastor in the 1600’s, who was for Presbyterian way of church compared to the Anglican or Church of England way. I am not one to generally read a biography, but this one was fun to read. The paragraphs are in small manageable chunks not being much larger than six to seven sentences. Hannula did a great job in quoting Rutherford from his writings whether it was a book or one of his letters written to a parishioner.

Like the title suggests this is a bite size book it comes in at just 138 pages. Each page filled with nuggets of goodness.  The first chapter was a good introduction into who Rutherford was and his background. It was not until I got into the second chapter when the pen came out; and I really started circling and underling all of the great gems either about Rutherford and the things he had to overcome or his great insights. Rutherford truly had the heart of a pastor in the way he shepherded the people of Anwoth. Listen to this recount, “Each day, he visited the bedsides of the sick and comforted the grieving. Rutherford took his calling seriously and ministered to his people as one who must give  an account to God. He told a friend that concerns for his flock brought forth in him ‘tears, cares, fears and daily prayers.’” (pg 31).

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This has been a great read, and I don’t say that often. I would recommend this work to everyone from the elementary school student all the way up to the DMin. This work was very encouraging to me as a seminary student to know we will face trials but God is still in control.
In accordance with the Law I was given a review copy of this work  from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for a far a balanced review. It did not have to be a positive review.

Writing is harder than you think…so is the rest of life.

I know some people who think writing is a breeze and everyone should be able to do it. For example I find it easier to write things than my dear bride does. For her the struggle is real. I know this is where we get all holy and sanctified and say Philippians 4:13. But I am not going there because that would be taking this verse greatly out of context.  I will say however that prayer and dogged determination will get the job done. Notice I did not just say pure determination. There is a humble reliance on God that takes place as it should in every aspect of our life.  We all have been given certain gifts and one of mine is the ability to write almost effortlessly. That is until I start with this blog. I am trying to be more pro-active with this vast opportunity to reach a wider audience than I will ever have here in my home town. 
For what ever reason we have been sold a bill of goods that life is supposed to be this easy thing and we should never experience hardships. In the book of Second Corinthians the Apostle Paul recounts all of the bad things that have happened to him(2 Cor 11:16-33). I am talking about things we go through not things that tempt us because we know from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that there is no temptation new unto man that God has not provided a way of escape from. Life does not have to be hard though, we have one who has offered to give us his portion. Does that mean we won’t face challenges no,  because we will, but as long as we rest in the Christ who strengthens us then we can say along with Paul ” Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV) 
So may we be encouraged no matter what we may be facing to trust in God. Because something is hard doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant for us to go through or have. Cry out to Jesus and he will make a way, maybe not the way you want but he will make a way. This holiday season has already been a trying time for my family and I am afraid it may get worse before it gets better. BUT I am not trusting what my eyes can see, I am going to live by faith (Romans 10:17). Like Luther “Here I stand, I can do no other.”
Go in God’s peace!
-Preach