The Pastor's Study will be a collection of Pastor Jesse's thoughts from his personal study time. We hope they will an encouragement to you!
How to Respond
“…we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
The Supreme Court has spoken. Gay marriage is the law of the land. So how are we as Christians supposed to respond? Paul answers that question in Ephesians 4:15. There are two elements to a response that will honor Christ.
1. Speak the truth- The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is a sin. (Romans 1:26-27) As Christians we need to uphold the truth of God’s Word. Some Christians want to compromise on this truth, but the Bible does not give us the right to choose what parts of the Bible we like and what parts we don’t like.
2. Speak with love- The world tends to see us Christians as “narrow minded bigots.” I hate to admit it, but perhaps we have earned that reputation. We tend to be very good at speaking the truth, but we often fail at doing so in a loving manner.
A while back my doctor told me it would be in my best interest to lose a few pounds. She wasn’t being mean and she wasn’t a bigot. She was telling me the hard truth in the most loving and sensitive manner possible.
God’s Word allows us to diagnose the disease called sin. But we shouldn’t do it in a self righteous, angry way. We have all sinned, so we aren’t much better than the homosexual. Yet we are still called to diagnose sin, and also show them that Jesus is the only cure for the otherwise terminal illness called sin. As Christians we need to balance truth with love. Any other response is not Christ like and certainly does not honor God.
August 2, 2014
On a number of occasions I have been asked if a Christian can be demon possessed. To me the answer to that question is a resounding “NO.” The Bible says “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) John tells us that Christ is bigger, better, and stronger than he (the devil) who is in the world. Notice the devil is in the world not in you.
However, it is entirely possible for Christians to act more like the devil than like Christ. Pastors are very good at this. We talk about “our church”, “our people”, “our sermons”, and we say things like “my ministry.” Does that sound a little bit like the devil?
The biggest problem with the devil is that he couldn’t get out of the way and give God the glory He deserved. Isaiah 14 tells us all about it.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14 KJV
The devil was full of what he was going to do. In short the devil was just full of himself. He wanted to be the center of attention. Have you ever fallen into that trap?
I long to hear people tell me how great of a pastor “I am.” I want others to notice how awesome “my ministry” is. In essence I am full of myself. Now there is nothing wrong with a good compliment and some encouragement, but we may cross the line when we are irritated at others for failing to notice what we do or how good we did. When we put all our esteem into what others think of us, we have become like the devil. We want the world to revolve around us, instead of our lives revolving around the God that created us. We want to be worshipped more than we want to worship. In that aspect, many Christians reflect the devil more than we reflect Christ.
Lord may we desire to honor you more than having others to honor us. May you be glorified in our lives. Let our lives point others to you more than to our accomplishments and achievements.
April 13, 2014
God’s not dead.
We just went to see the movie “God’s not dead.” In one sense it was refreshing to see a movie that was distinctly Christian, but on the other hand it was depressing. This movie was inspired by a bunch cases in which schools attacked students for their Christian beliefs. In essence God is not dead, but He has been kicked out of school. Do these schools not realize they would not exist if it weren’t for God?
We have public education because our Christian ancestors thought it was important for all children to have an education so they could learn and understand more about God. Our founding fathers took Proverbs 1:7 seriously.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7a
The Puritans were the ones that established the first schools. They taught all the students to read for two reasons. They certainly realized that reading would be instrumental in them obtaining meaningful work. But far beyond that, they wanted their children to read fluently so they could read the Bible. In fact they were taught the Bible as they were taught to read. Here is an excerpt from the first textbook printed in 1690 by Benjamin Harris.
“A wise son maketh a glad father,…
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord…
Come unto Christ all that labor…”
Many of our colleges were founded on Christian principles to educate pastors. Harvard is still one of our elite schools. It was America’s first college. Did you know it was named after Pastor John Harvard? Did you know it was founded with the purpose to train pastors in this country? In 1643 the school clearly stated the aim of its education. “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.” Can you imagine that coming from our elite schools today? Yet that was the aim of virtually all of the early institutions of higher education in this country including Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, and Columbia. Perhaps you would be shocked to learn that Princeton University was started in an effort to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the American Indians. When we think about it, the reason we have schools today is because God is not dead. Perhaps it’s time we educate our educators in the history of education. Perhaps it’s time to once again study American History. Just think what life would be like if God did not exist. We would not have an education system, we would not have a healthcare system, and we would not have science. Yes, most branches of sciences were started by Christians in an effort to know God “our Creator” better. All of these things we take for granted were all started by Christians inspired by God. I for one am grateful that God is not dead. In fact it’s safe for me to say that “The day God dies in this nation that is the day when this nation dies as well.” An old hymn states it best. “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” May we remember where we came from.
February 8, 2014
What is worship? Is it about singing? Or maybe it’s all about going to church. When it comes to worship we all seem to have different ideas of what it means. One thing that we should be able to agree on is that worship should ultimately honor God. So in essence worship is the ways in which we honor God. So how is it that we should honor and worship God?
David gives us some help with this in Psalm 101. David lays out a number of ways in which we can worship. In verse 1 he says “I will sing of your love and justice. I will praise you Lord with songs.” So if you think worship is all about singing, you are right. Worship can entail singing, but it’s much deeper than that.
David continues on to talk about worshiping God in his everyday life. He says “I will be careful to live a blameless life… I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” (Psalms 101:2-3 NLT) David realizes that worship is more about a way of life than it is about what we do.
After reading Psalm 101, I come to the conclusion that we can go to church, sing songs of praise, and yet not worship God at all. If our lives are not lived in a God honoring way, we are not truly worshiping. Our words mean nothing if they are not back up by the way we live our lives. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
So I guess the question we as Christians should ask is this. “Do I really worship God, or do I just say that I worship God?” What are your thoughts? E-mail me your opinions. I would love to hear from you.
December 31, 2013
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30
Have you noticed that some people are hard to please? No matter what you do, it’s just not good enough. I am sure we all feel that way from time to time. One pastor described it this way in the “Preacher’s Lament.”
This was sent to me from my friend Henry Palmieri, although I don’t know who wrote it.
“If I express myself on a subject, I’m trying to run things.
If I’m silent, I’m dumb or have lost interest.
If I’m often at the office (preparing messages, why don’t I get out and learn what’s going on?
If I’m out when they call, why am I not tending to business, or studying for a message.
If I’m not home at night, I’m out having a good time.
If I’m home, I’m neglecting important outside contacts and activities.
If I don’t agree with people, I’m bullheaded.
If I do agree, I don’t have any ideas of my own.
If I don’t do what I’m requested, I’m a very poor pastor or minister.
If I do what I’m asked to do, well, that’s what I’m paid for.
If I give someone a short answer, I’m too big for my britches.
If I attempt to explain all the pros and cons of an issue, then I’m a know it all.
If I’m well dressed, I think I’m a big shot.
If I’m not, I’m a poor representative of my office.
If I’m on the job a short time, I’m in experienced.
If I’ve been there a long time, it’s time for a change.”
There are just sometimes when we can’t seem to win. No matter what we do, we can’t please everybody. The good news is that we don’t have to please everybody. We only have to please one. There is only one that is qualified to judge us. That is God himself. If we love him with all of our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves, we will please God. That is much easier than trying to please everybody. Let’s live for the audience of “ONE.”
Ebenezer Bible Church
c/o Pastor Jesse Bingman
600 Chestnut St
Mifflinburg, PA 17844
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