Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pause to Recognize God!

This Weekend, Mt Zion Church of Ontario celebrates 96 years of ministry.
As I reflect on our 96 year history, we experienced failure, difficulty and miracles and victory.  Through it all God’s hand of favor and keeping power is constantly displayed before us.
Although we pause daily to thank God for His favor, and power, today we pause in our worship services, and we have a celebration concert planned to again say, thank You Lord (see mtzionontario.com. for info).
We also stop to say, Jesus, continue to Pastor Mt. Zion and we will follow You.
Christians, stop to celebrate what God has and is doing.  Worship, and praise keeps us positioned to anticipate the great and mighty things He is going to do as we live for God sized results (John 15:16).

God Bless,
Pastor Brian E. Kennedy, Sr.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Subtle but Fierce Challenges Today?

Today we face subtle yet fierce challenges in our culture.
Slavery, abolition, and civil rights were not subtle, but fierce because on both sides, the issues were clearly black and white based on what God said, and people made a choice to obey or disobey God.

Today because of the extensive ground work of the enemy in getting Christians to lower our view of God’s Word around issues such as legalizing marijuana, cohabitation outside of marriage, lying, stealing, cheating, sexual abuse, sexual immorality, domestic violence, etc., these issues appear blurred.
People on both sides are equally passionate, but caring Christians who come to the table with a high view of scripture are immediately written off as intolerant, dogmatic, divisive, and unloving.
Those determined to live a lifestyle displeasing to God (including Christians) prefer that caring Christians (not extremist) lower our view of God’s Word, and discuss alternative lifestyles with a neutral, mixed, and questioning view of the Bible versus a loving view of what “God said.”
The real rub in the human spirit comes when someone says “God said,” as established objective truth. This is not supposed to happen in a questioning, tolerant, accepting, affirming, and “progressive thinking” environment.

The subtle challenge today is that through various systems governed by a non-Judeo/Christian world-view, even strong Christians with a high view of scripture are walking away questioning what God has clearly said.
Sometimes my passion for God’s Word is manifested while speaking and some people conclude that I am harsh, intolerant, unloving, and closed-minded toward discussing alternatives to God’s plan.
When that happens, I must step back and reflect on if I am being loving as I share truth from God’s word.  Yet, not question what God said despite the culture demanding that I question God’s Word.
Another subtle challenge today is although Christians will lovingly listen, and show compassion, sometimes we are not given a chance to show love because of our high view of scripture.

Christians, when we really care, our reality is the Holy Spirit working in a heart is the only way we get to have an honest, open, and transparent conversation around difficult topics that God calls sin.

I love the “women at the well” encounter because she was open to being loved as Jesus dealt with her sin and gave her hope concurrently (John 4:4-30).
This is the grace and truth Jesus brought to the earth (John 1:14).
Christians, our challenge today is graciously sharing how the two co-exist (Rom. 5:8).
Christians, our challenge is genuinely loving people like Jesus as we share the truth found in God’s Word because we too are recipients of His grace and truth.

God Bless,
Pastor Brian E. Kennedy, Sr.