Five Days Only!

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One of the greatest problems Christians face today is where to focus their time and energy. Jumping from one cause or program to another never quite feeling fulfilled or satisfied in their Christian life. In the book FOCUS Pastor Jay McCaig leads us through five areas of spiritual growth that every Christian and church must understand if they are ever going to turn the world upside down for Christ.

Freedom – As Christians we have a level of freedom that is beyond anything that any government or institution can provide. Are you living in bondage or living in the freedom given by Jesus Christ? Do you have the abundant life God promised in His Word?

Others – The Christian life was always meant to be a life of going and helping others. Where do we start? How far can we go?

The Cross – Everything changed on that simple wooden cross of Calvary. Learn how the events of more than 2000 years ago still impact the world today. And how those events can directly change you.

Understanding – God desires not only to know you but He desire for you to know Him. Learn how he reveals himself to you today and how you can personally know and understand your creator.

Salvation – Why did Jesus come to Earth? Would a good and loving God ever send someone to Hell? Can I lose my salvation?

In the pages of FOCUS you will find a better understanding and confidence in all five of these critical areas of your Christian life.

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Nicaraguan Observations

For the past week, I have had the privilege of visiting churches and work with children in Nicaragua. This has been an amazing trip and we have experienced many amazing things and I want to share just a few with you.

  1. On Thursday, we hiked/climbed 1.5 miles to reach a few houses deep in the woods where some of the poorest families live. We brought them food and water filters as well as the Gospel. The trip was treacherous, climbing up steps carved in the side of a steep wall, traversing river beds (fortunately dry at the time) & climbing through several barbed wire fences. We made it back tired, dirty and sweaty.This morning as we were starting Vacation Bible School I noticed four of the little kids that we had seen at those houses coming out of the woods. I was told that they show up every day for Bible school and there were many who traveled even further, on foot, over that difficult terrain.

    What a stark contrast this is to the typical American “Christian” who won’t go to church if it is raining or if the time of the service isn’t exactly to their liking. Or show up and complain because it’s too cold/hot, the seat is to hard/soft, the music is too loud or they can’t hear.

    The children came because they love Jesus, nothing else mattered. What if we had that dedication?

  2. Before that God gave us the opportunity to present the Gospel of Christ to a group of students at a public school. The children were excited to hear from the “Gringos” and hear more about a Saviour that loves them enough to die for them.in America we gave up the classrooms of America a generation ago to the religion of humanism. Children eager to hear truth are instead feed a constant diet of lies. They are told they can be or do anything they want, knowing that most will fail. Because relying upon ourselves is relying upon very little. Instead they should be told the truth, that they can do amazing things when they follow God’s leading. That He has a plan for them that will far exceed any desires they may have. But instead we subject our children to the teachings of failure.
  3. Also at the school we met a young girl who wanted to sing a song about Jesus for one of our ladies. I overheard the singing and was amazed by how gifted this precious child was. She has been given an amazing gift and is sharing it at every opportunity. God has given us all gifts but few use them to His Glory like this child does.

Thanks to listening/reading to this rambling of thoughts that struck me today. I hope there is something here that is useful to you.

Be good, Pastor Jay

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One Thing That Most Great Marriages Have in Common

I see too many marriages that are labeled “successful” just because of their longevity. Marriage was not intended to be an endurance sport, but rather an institution that God could use to make individuals more capable and complete through unity with Him and each other. I hope your goal is to have a strong marriage where both the husband and wife are made better by the marriage than they ever could be alone.

I have found over the years that this one thing is often overlooked on the quest by couples to develop a great marriage. What is that one thing? Dating. Dating is a ritual that we use to get to know someone better. We learn their likes, dislikes, how they react to hardship and what they are about behind the pick-up line, and see if that chemistry works. If everything goes well, then the dating draws two people so close together that they can’t imagine spending their lives with anyone else. So, they get married, the dating stops, they drift apart, and a year or two down the road they start saying foolish things like, “I love him, but, I’m not in love with him.” (Does anybody really know what that means?)

If you want to have a vibrant marriage – Never Stop Dating! Put date night or date lunch on the calendar, make a reservation, plan a picnic, go bowling, do something together. Find a sitter for the kids and turn the phones off; this is about the two of you as a couple, it’s not family time. Continue to learn about each other, and continue to experience each other. Start with one and work to make it a monthly experience. You may be surprised about what you have forgotten about your spouse, or you may discover some depth that you didn’t know existed. It doesn’t have to be expensive. The emphasis should be on giving each other your undivided attention.

JUST FOR THE GUYS – You need to man up and take the lead here. You make the reservations, you make the plans, you open the car door. Be a little old fashioned and bring her some flowers when you pick her up. Think about what your lady would enjoy and surprise her. It can be something as simple as a walk and picnic in the park, or a more elaborately planned candlelit dinner at a nice restaurant. By the way, if the destination is a surprise, at least tell her how to dress; you don’t want to ruin the evening by her being over or under dressed.

I would love to hear about your date night ideas in the comment section below. Vee and I are always on the lookout for some new Date Night ideas!

Be Good, Pastor Jay

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Are Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Still Accountable to the Gospel?

Are Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Still Accountable to the Gospel? This is a great question that has been asked and answered a hundred ways. Some say that they do not believe a good, loving God could send anyone to Hell, much less someone who has never heard the name Jesus or how He died for their sins. Others claim that we can pray for or be baptized for those who died without Christ and somehow help them work their way into Heaven. The problem is that these and a host of other theories were created in the imaginations of men, and they don’t line up with the Word of God.

The Bible tells us in John 1:9 that Jesus is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” That verse tells us that the light of Jesus touches all men! How can that be so, knowing that there are many people in areas of the world where they will live and die never seeing a Bible or meeting a Christian? The Bible tells us that as well! As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us several ways Jesus’s light is spread:

The general Light of Nature. Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Creation screams an orderly, benevolent Creator.

The Light of Good Things. The Bible declares that all good gifts come from God; any thinking person will realize that when a gift is received, it must have come from somewhere.

There is the Light of Jesus Himself: As He lived, ministered and died on the earth, He was also bringing His light to all who would receive.

There is the Light of the Gospel: Christ has now “come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me [Christ] should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46).

There is the Light of the Spirit: both the guiding and the convicting power of the Spirit.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13).

Understand that all the light existing in the world is due to Christ, both the light from nature and from heaven, from the physical world and from the spiritual world.

We know from the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch, that when someone responds to whatever sliver of Light they experience, God will send more Light. In the case of the Ethiopian, Philip was supernaturally transported to the middle of the desert to teach the Ethiopian what he needed to know about the Light, and when he was done he was transported back. The problem has never been the lack of light, but of sinful man purposely rejecting whatever light he sees. No one ever goes to Hell because of lack of opportunity; they go to Hell because they willfully reject the opportunity placed in front of them by Jesus.

Have you been rejecting the Light of Jesus? Will you stop rejecting and turn to that Light today?

Be Good, Pastor Jay

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Redeeming the “Little” Time

An article in this morning’s issue of the USA Today claims that, on average, Americans spend 17 hours a year looking for a parking spot, at an annual cost of $340 per person in wasted gas, time and increased emissions.  In larger cities, that number went up substantially to a high of 107 hours a year in New York City. That is more than 2 hours a week just looking for a parking spot!

God tells us in Ephesians 5:15&16, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” We are given a very finite amount of time on this earth, and we must redeem it well. Like money, talents, or gifts, time is a gift from God. A gift that we are called to redeem. Fools waste time, but the wise manage their time circumspectly (prudently, cautiously). Spending 107, or even 17, hours looking for a parking space is using time foolishly.

Often when we think about time management, we think of those big chunks of time, the big projects. But there is great value in redeeming the little times as well. It is those little times, like searching for a parking place or surfing the web, that eat so much into our daily calendars. They cause us to end our days feeling unproductive and unfulfilled. When we start looking for those little time wasters and redeem them circumspectly, we will start finding time for all those tasks that aren’t getting done.

I am not saying that our days should be all work all day. I am saying that we should be more deliberate and focused about where the time that God placed in our hands is going. Lately, I have been spending 15-30 minutes each day in the pool with my wife. And while that may not seem like a particularly productive redeeming use of time, it is. I get some exercise and sunshine, both vital for health. It gives me an opportunity to meditate on what I have been working on. It allows me to relax and refocus. And, most importantly, it keeps the relationship with my wife strong, something that is much more important than work.

Take some time today and look at where you are wasting time. Maybe you could redeem some time from your daily routine and use it to read a book or send out some thank you notes. Use your commute time to listen to some books on tape, a sermon (one of mine would be great, lol) or a motivational recording. When looking for a parking space, you could save some time and get some exercise by parking in a spot that’s a little further away from the door. There are so many ways that we can better redeem our time.

Well, Vee will be home soon for lunch, and then if the rain holds off we will hit the pool for a bit and redeem some time together!

Be Good – Pastor Jay

What ideas do you have to better redeem your time? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Would You Like a FREE Autographed Copy of My Book?

Do you like free stuff? I am giving away two FREE autographed copies of my Amazon Best Selling book: FOCUS – Five Critical Areas of Spiritual Growth For Christians and Churches. I will be randomly selecting two people from this page’s email list on Wednesday to receive a book. You can enter to win by joining the email list below. Good Luck & be sure to share with all of your friends!

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We Finally Tried Our New Airfryer!

   Our ongoing quest to find food that is reasonably healthy and tastes good (not a combination that normally goes together, I know) led Vee and I to buy one of the new AirFryers that we keep hearing about.

The Power Airfryers XL that we purchased comes in three sizes, 2.4Qt, 3.4qt & 5.3Qt. The Small one seemed too small to cook much of anything and since it’s just the two of us we chose the 3.4Qt, it’s big enough to cook plenty for two and doesn’t take up too much counter space. The big draw for us was the claim that the food would taste like deep fried food without the oil and all the extra calories that comes with the oil.

For our first meal, we kept it super simple & easy, wings and fries. We bought frozen wings and let them thaw before rubbing them with a McCormick dry rub. The basket was big enough that Vee started cooking both together and took the fries out early so they wouldn’t overcook.

So, what’s the verdict? The wings and fries were AMAZING! Cooked through and the taste was great. The wings could have been a bit crisper so we’ll try extending the cook time when we cook them next time (which I think will be very soon!)

We are looking forward to our next experiment. So, if you have a favorite airfryer recipe, suggestion, or question please share it in the comment section below.

Oh, and here is a link (CLICK HERE) to the model we used if you’re looking for one. Or if you want to see the 5.3Qt click HERE .

Be Good, Pastor Jay

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Supplements to Consider Taking on Your Next Mission Trip

Standard disclaimer: Always consult your physician before taking any supplement.

In addition to your regular supplements you may want to supplement with some of these for your next mission trip.

Meclizine – Marketed as Bonine & Dramamine II (the non-drowsy version) is an Antihistamine that helps prevent/treat motion sickness and vertigo. I am not normally inclined to motion sickness but two years ago I learned the hard way to prepared. Flying into Guatemala City and making our final decent, landing gear down and we were so close to the ground that I could see the cracks in the runway, when suddenly the pilot accelerated and began a fast assent. We spent the next 20min bouncing in every direction as the pilot navigated around the mountains for another landing attempt.  I was not the only one to fill my air sickness bag (I filled two) on that fight. Now about an hour before flight I take some Meclizine and all is good. In addition to rough flights navigating the local traffic with roads in various states of disrepair can upset even the strongest stomachs.

Anacin – Basically just aspirin and caffeine, the combination gives me quick relief for headaches and other aches and pains from hiking the countryside. It can also take the edge off for you coffee and soda drinkers going through caffeine withdrawal when your favorite drinks can’t be found.

Ciprofloxacin – Ask your Dr for a prescription for this, or another antibiotic they recommend, to take with you should you experience travelers’ diarrhea that may develop from the local water or cuisine. And don’t forget to ask your Dr about other supplements or immunizations you should have before you go.

Probiotics – The research is mixed how effective probiotics are for preventing travelers’ diarrhea, but, they seem to help me and others swear by them. Look for shelf-stable varieties that have include the following strains: Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Most recommend you start taking them at least two weeks before and continue throughout the duration of the trip. Here is one that meets these requirements that won’t break the bank, DrFormulas Nexabiotic.

Valerian Root – This natural, mild sleep aid will help you get the sleep you need when staying in a strange environment or a different time zone. I used to use melatonin, but, it often left me groggy the next day. And yes, it is supposed to smell that way.

Curcumin – I love this supplement. My wife has found it works better on her bursitis than any of the over-the-counter pain killers. Why it’s great to take with you on a mission trip is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. With all the extra walking and moving you will be doing this supplement helps with the aches and pains you will be experiencing. It has many other benefits as well, I encourage you to do a little research into this herb.

Anti-diarrheal medicine – If all else fails be sure to have some anti-diarrheal medicine on hand. Dehydration is bad enough but nothing is worse than having diarrhea on an international flight. You will thank me for this one if needed.

Well, that’s a good start. I’d love to hear about some of the supplements you use on your trips in the comment section.

 

Be Good, Pastor Jay

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The Worst Advice You Can Ever Give (that you have probably already given)

 It happened again just the other day. While scrolling through Facebook, I saw someone giving the worst possible advice to a young woman who was trying to make a huge life decision. It is advice that I see doled out every day to people seeking answers. Advice that I am sure makes the advisor feel sage-like as they sit back and scratch their head as their own life burns.

What is this advice? “Follow your heart.” I know it sounds good and even feels good when we dispense it, but, “Follow your heart” is akin to telling someone to “try the gasoline” when they are trying put out a fire. Why is it so bad? Because the heart is the worst possible place to get decision-making information.

Secular researchers have identified three sources of decision-making information resources in each of us.

The first is the “Heart” – this area is completely dependent upon emotions, which makes it completely unreliable. As emotions and circumstances change, so do our hearts’ directions. The Heart is also influenced by hormonal and chemical imbalances in the body, again making it completely unreliable.

The second is the “Gut” – these are those difficult-to-pin-down feelings that something is right or dreadfully wrong. Difficult to define, the Gut is your experience and your subconscious noticing things your conscious mind has missed, letting you know that something is at odds with the information your conscious mind is receiving. It is much more reliable than the heart, and is heavily influenced by the third factor, the “Mind.”

The Mind is your intellect. It is the facts that you know about the situation. The more you know about a situation, the better the decision you can make. It is by far the best, of the three, at making decisions. But the mind is not without its drawbacks. The Mind and its facts can be manipulated by the Heart, and facts can be made to tell the story the Heart desires.

There is a fourth and more powerful and accurate source for making decisions that is often overlooked by the world and its researchers. That source is God. In addition to having perfect knowledge of coming events, God has given us His Word to lead our decision-making process. He has also given us His Holy Spirit to lead and guide our understanding. And He is always just a prayer away. Consider these verses:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

And just in case you still don’t think that the Heart is the worst place to look for guidance, this is what God says about our heart:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Be Good, Pastor Jay

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