Does America Have a Gun Problem, A Mental Health Problem or is It Something Else.

By now I am sure you have heard of the senseless act of violence that took place at Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. As has become the norm, the smoke had barely started to clear before some politicians were calling for stricter gun laws and others were calling for more funding for the treatment of individuals with mental health issues. Unfortunately, none of them have chosen to identify the real problem or offer any real solution. Instead they pretend like the real problem isn’t a problem at all, leading they way to more and more destruction.

When I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s (yeah, I know I’m old) the gun culture was very different. It was not uncommon to see guns displayed in the back windows of trucks sitting at the grocery store, banks, and even schools. Students had guns that stayed in their vehicles and the though of bringing them into the school or hurting someone with them never crossed our minds. It was easier to get guns back then. You could walk into a Walmart, K-mart, TGY&Y and a dozen other places and walk out that same day with a rifle, shotgun or even a pistol. Very little paperwork needed to be filled out and no background checks were ever done. I was working at TG&Y at the time and at the end of the week we would mail the one page of information to the ATF, what they did with it I have no idea. And about once a year someone would stop by from the ATF and look over our copies that we kept on file, thumbing through them and then leaving. Rare was the home invasion and rarer yet was the school shootings.

Today it is harder to buy and posses a gun is harder than it ever has been in the history of our country, yet violence continues to increase. It seems with every restriction placed on gun owners, gun crimes go up exponentially. I do not believe we can legislate ourselves out of the perceived gun problem for one very simple reason. We do not have a gun problem.

And, while I think that mental health is sorely underfunded, I don’t believe that even with full funding would it make a dent in the violent shootings. We have always had those around us with mental health issues, but rarely did they turn to hurting others in mass. Mental health makes a convenient excuse to distract us away from the voices trying to enact new gun laws, but the will not stop the killings.

America’s problem is not one of guns or mental health – America has a sin problem that has gone untreated for to long. As a nation we have turned our back on God and embraced everything He warned us about. We murder thousands of children a day and call it “Health Care” and there are many pushing to have the right of abortion to newborns as well, or former President and current political activist being one of them. We have chosen to embrace every perversion man can dream up and label any who resist as intolerant and bigoted. We have spit upon the gift of marriage and turned it over to perversions. We accept politicians that lie, cheat and steal as long as they say the things we want to hear. We pour our money into Hollywood who knowingly hid serial a serial rapists from the world because our entertainment is more important that the safety of women. Our churches are no exception, running to ordain men and women who do not hold the qualifications to be ordained, simply because of our desire to be inclusive. We look at Worship as a way to get some blessing or to be filled because after all, it’s all about us, right? We have Pastors standing in pulpits afraid to mention Hell or sin because they may offend some one and lose favor, yet they don’t have any problem offending God.

The solution to the violence is simple – Repent from our wicked ways and seek after God. It will require the 95% of people who claim to be Christians but who do nothing to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to do something meaningful for Christ. What would have happened if one Christian had reached the gunman with the Gospel?

When was the last time you invited someone to church or shared the Gospel with someone? A better question is who will you invite to church or share the Gospel with next?

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Looking for a great Christian fiction to read?

I don’t read a lot of fiction, Christian or otherwise, but I Just finished Like A Flood, by Elizabeth Proske, and I’m glad I did! I really enjoyed this book! Having a very full schedule, I found myself looking for downtime to be able to read more. Pleasantly, it was much more intense and emotional than I expected. Having been on several Mission trips I can attest to the reality of the conditions and some of the obstacles faced, although I have never experienced the intense action detailed here. I was worried with the number of characters that it would be difficult to keep them all straight as I read, but the author overcame this with thorough, ongoing character development. There is a great diversity of characters and each is at a different point in their spiritual life causing each to respond to each other and the crises they face accordingly. I doubt you can read this book without seeing yourself in one or more characters. The times of doubt and spiritual struggles they faced seemed real and made the characters very likable and watching them live out their faith despite the adversity was very encouraging for me. I would love to see this turned into a screenplay, that’s a movie I would watch! I highly recommend for teens and adults.

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Simple Ways to Memorize Bible Verses

You can memorize Bible verses. I wanted to get that out of the way upfront. It may be difficult at first, but you can do it. The brain acts a lot like a muscle in that it responds to exercise by adapting and growing stronger. Although it may be difficult at first, you will see quick improvement in your ability to memorize very quickly! Here are a few of the best tips to help you out on your journey:

1. Pray first.
As with any type of Spiritual growth you need to start with a receptive heart. Spend some time in prayer before you start repenting of your sin and seeking God’s wisdom and power as you study.

2. Choose a verse to memorize that relates your life right now.
Are you going through a trial, concerned about someone else, starting a new job, getting married or starting a family? Finding a verse that is relevant to your time in life will help fuel your passion to memorize it!

3. Start small and grow.
Start with a small verse or a portion of a verse and add a word or two each day. Each day repeat what you have already learned and add the new portion. Remember the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

4. Write it down.
A wonderful way to get your brain to visualize the verse you are working on is to write it down. I am a visual learner, and this helps me to see myself writing each word.

5. Read it out loud.
Many of us are auditory learners and reading the verse out loud will help trigger that portion of the brain that responds to sound to help you recall the verse.

6. Pray the verse.
Often in the Bible we see great men of God repeating memorized scriptures when the pray. Use the verse this way will help you experience the power not only of prayer but the verse you are memorizing.

7. Find a partner.
Find someone to memorize with or someone you can check in with at a certain time and share your progress. Each Sunday you can repeat the verse you memorized to each other. Take turns picking a new verse each week. Knowing that someone is expecting you to have your verse memorized by a certain time is a great motivator to stay on task.

8. Act like a kid again.
When teaching a verse to a child we often use games. Why not play a few of the games yourself? Write the verse on a piece of paper and then cut out each word, scramble them up and see how fast you can put them back in order.

9. Make it a “Pocket Verse”.
When I was first memorizing Bible verses I would write them on a piece of paper and put them in my pocket. Every time my hand touched the paper in my pocket I would repeat the verse. I still refer to these old favorites as my “Pocket Verses” when the Holy Spirit calls them to mind.

Well, those are some of my tips. What works for you?

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8 False Statements about Guns & Church

In the wake of the horrific murders at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Texas many conversations and debates have been spawned. One of those is the rising debate of guns in church. Should places of Worship be protected by guns? Should parishioners carry guns into the church building? Should Pastors carry guns while in the pulpit? Are just a few of the questions being asked. Within these conversations many false statements are being made, some due to ignorance and some to further an agenda.

Let’s look at a few false statements being made concerning guns and Church;

False statement #1 – The Church is Holy Ground and should not be tainted with guns.

This argument is caused by a failure to understand what the Church is, and what it’s not. The church is not a building. We are extremely blessed in the United States and most of our churches have a building they routinely meet in, but on any given Sunday’s there are hundreds of churches around our country that are meeting in houses, parks, back yards and hotels. You see the bible teaches that the Church is the called-out, born again believers that have gather together in an organized fashion to Worship God. Not a building. The church buildings that many of us meet in are blessings from God but they are not Holy, God is not present there in any greater proportion than he is at any other building in the world. God’s Temple today is the heart of the believers not a building. Buildings are not Holy places, but you are if you have repented of your sins and accepted Christ as your Saviour. God clearly declares this fact in 2 Corinthians 6:16.

False statement #2 – “Thou shalt not kill” means even killing in self-defense.

The command from God is specifically talking about murder – not all death. Murder is the taking of a life without a just cause. Self-defense, capital punishment, and acts of war, all of which are condoned by God in His Word, do not fall into the category of murder. Ironically the person that was using that argument is pro-abortion and abortion falls into the category of murder.

False statement #3 – America has a gun problem.

In short: America does not have a gun problem, America has a sin problem. We are living out the woe of Isaiah 5:20 and calling evil good and good evil. We not only sin as a nation, we are proud of our sins, celebrate our sin and even encourage our children to engage in sinful behavior. “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both” (Dwight D. Eisenhower).

False statement #4 – Jesus never condoned violent behavior in response to sinful behavior.

In John chapter 2 we read where Jesus made a whip and beat people and turned over their tables to cleanse His Father’s Temple that man had defiled. Enough said.

False statement #5 – Self-defense violates the command given in Proverbs 20:22

This scripture is dealing with vengeance and vigilantism, not self-defense.

False statement #6 – If God wanted Pastor’s to carry weapons He would of commanded it.

He did – Luke 22:36 (KJV) “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”

False statement #7 – The second amendment was about hunting, not defense.

I was shocked by this one because the person who said it is fairly intelligent, but he obviously has never read the second amendment. This is the Second Amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – not a word about hunting.

False statement #8 Gun-free zones keep us safe.

The truth is that gun free zones are the most dangerous places in America because the only people in a gun free area that has a gun is the criminal. That is why most mass shootings happen in gun free zones. I recommend if your church is a gun free zone that you look for a church that cares more about your safety and less about being political correct.

In conclusion there is nothing in the Bible or constitution that restricts a church body or individual Christian from owning, caring or using a gun for self-defense. I am not condoning violence for violence sake, but wisdom in protecting yourself, your family and friends. Our first line of defense should be a life lived fully in Christ. Our study of Scripture, time in prayer and expressions of love will always be greater than a gun. Never sacrifice your spiritual readiness for the sake of militarily readiness.

I know this article doesn’t cover every false statement being made or concerns you may have, if you want to share these in the comment section we can discuss it and reason together!

Be good, Pastor Jay

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Do these 5 things BEFORE you write your first book!

I will admit it, I made a lot of mistakes while writing my first book, FOCUS. Even though FOCUS is an Amazon bestseller, I could have gotten it in front of many more eyes if I had put a little more time and effort into certain areas early in the writing process. Mistakes are ok – when we learn from them. Repeating the same mistakes is foolishness. As I prepare on my next book I am spending a lot more time in these five areas:

1. Building my Platform – A platform is simply a group of people that may be willing to buy your book. On a limited basis this could be family, friends, customers and acquaintances. But to really be successful a platform should reach well beyond these, to a much wider sphere of influence. When you think of your Platform think of a stage where people stop to see what you have to say. You can build a platform on Facebook, Twitter, by starting a Blog or by cultivating a large email list. Michael Hyatt literally wrote the book on building platforms. I encourage you to read his book, Platform, as a starting point for building your own unique platform. Click HERE to see Michael Hyatt’s  book, Platform.

2. Researching my Topic – Amazon is a wonderful place to research your topic because it allows you to see what people are buying. Maybe you have a topic in mind, but a little research may help you focus into a slightly different topic that people are more interested in. For example – Maybe you have the desire to write a book about prayer, a great topic but very general. You would probably attract more attention and sell more books by drilling your topic down to; Prayers for women or Prayers during adversity. See what is already selling on Amazon and tap into that need. On their site Amazon keeps track of the top 100 bestselling books in a wide range of categories and updates it hourly. Spend some time looking at what people are buying. If it’s not already selling, then people probably aren’t looking for it. Keep in mind the world and needs change and what is not hot today maybe next year’s best seller.

Another great tool is the Google keyword tool. It will show you what people are searching for on the internet. You can find it in the Keyword Planner section of Google Adwords. You may have to set up an Adwords account to access it, but creating an account is free.

3. Creating a title that sells – I think I could have greatly increased the sales of “FOCUS” if I had titled it “FOCUS for Spiritual Growth”. I have toyed with the idea of relaunching with the new name just to test the theory but right now I am moving forward on another project. One title is just that a title but the other gives you an idea what the book is about ad works better to tap into a need. Think like the book buyer. As they are scanning dozens of books what about your title, and cover, will make them pause and look deeper?

4. Developing a Marketing plan – How are you going to market your book? Guest post on other Blogs? Email marketing? Sphere of influence? Past customers? Some of this will be dictated by the platform you build but it is something to be working on throughout the book writing process.

5. Founding a Launch Team – Ok, this doesn’t have to be done before you start writing but should be part of your marketing plan. A launch team is a group of people who, in exchange for a free preview copy of your book, agree to download another free copy of the book and write a review when the book goes live online. Amazon analytics loves activity and this will “prime the pump” to get your book positioned to be noticed by potential buyers as quickly as possible. Movement creates momentum. Want to be part of my launch team? Let me know in the comment section or send me an email!

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Remember When God Wanted to Kill Moses?

Sermon Transcript – Let’s look at the life of Moses for a moment. Moses was handpicked by God for a specific purpose. From the time he was born, he was protected by God. You know the story, the Pharaoh came and said that a deliverer was coming and so the world did what the world does when they know a deliverer was coming, they started killing babies. That was the world’s response to Moses and that was the world’s response to the first coming of Jesus. By the way that’s why we have such a problem with abortion today. The world knows the deliverer is coming back and their only thought is we’ve got to kill the babies, but he’s not coming as a baby this time. Is he? He’s coming as a conquering King.

Moses was protected. He was kept alive when the other children were killed. He was not only kept alive, but through a series of events that God had planned, he ended up being raised in the Pharaoh’s own home by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He received the best education that money could buy in those days. He was protected and he was given a position of authority. And then when he was 40years old, he made a horrible mistake. He committed a horrible sin, he rose up and he killed somebody out anger.

He got angry and let that anger manifest itself and he killed somebody. Then he even tried to hide the body, but he was found out and he was punished for it. Do you remember what his punishment was for murder? He was exiled, he was cast out. He was sent out into the wilderness to live for killing somebody, but even this time in the wilderness wasn’t the worst because while he was there he found a new family. He got married and becoming prosperous as a goat herder.

So even this time in the wilderness wasn’t the worst for him and then after 40 years old, he’s 80years old by this time, God calls him again. God came and gave him a new command, go back and talk to the pharaoh. To tell the Pharaoh to “Let my people go”.

So fast forward a bit: he hasn’t fulfilled his purpose yet, he hasn’t stood before the Pharaoh yet and we come to Exodus chapter 4. We’ve see all these things happening, God has protected him, God has his disciplined him, God has moulded him and God has trained him for 80years for the purpose of delivering his people out of Egypt, to be a saviour, and to be that picture of the coming saviour. For 80years he’s been investing in him, 80years he’s been pouring into him and in Exodus 4: 24 says “And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.”

God met Moses with the intention of killing Moses before he ever stood before the pharaoh. Is that shocking to anybody? Is this startling to anybody that God’s desire, God’s intention at that point toward this person that he had invested all this into was to kill him?
Do you know what his great crime was?
Do you know what he was being judged for?
Do you know why God was going to kill him now?

What was this great offense before God? What was this thing that’s obviously worse than murder because for murder he was just exiled and it wasn’t the worst of exiles? He didn’t circumcise his son. He gets somewhat of a pass for murder, but when he didn’t circumcise his infant son God desires to kill him.
Why didn’t he circumcise his son? We don’t know. It appears that in the following verses, his wife wasn’t too excited about the idea although she is ultimately the one that circumcises the son. Seem like she was kind of angry about it, but she did it with the knowledge that this was saving her husband’s life by circumcising the son. And this did save Moses’s life. This did change the mind of God so He didn’t kill Moses. But why was circumcision more important than murder?

And if circumcision is that important are we still judged by that today? No, this was a command that was given to Israel. This was an Old Testament command that went away when the New Testament came. Also, it was a command for the Jewish people, but never applied to Gentiles. Circumcision was a way to distinguish between God’s people and the rest of the world.
So why was he so upset with Moses? Let’s look at three things we can glean from this passage.

First, we have to understand, what is sin?
Was it a sin when he committed murder? Yes
Was it a sin when he refused to circumcise his son? Yes

They’re both violated commands of God. They were both an affront to God because sin is always an affront to Him. Sin is rebellion, simply sin is disobedience before God.

So why was God going to judge circumcision greater than he had judged murder? Circumcision or the lack of circumcision was an ongoing sin. The murder was a one-time sin. He was done, he was repentant and he even tried to hide the body to pretend like it didn’t happen because he was remorseful for it and he was repentant of it.

But the circumcision; He disobeyed God and every single day that he did not circumcise his son he was choosing to live in a state of disobedience. This is important for us as Christians, because as Christians we are all going to sin. And when we sin, we have an advocate with the father. The same advocate, that saved us in the first place will stand before the Father and when we repent of our sin he will tell the Father that sin has been paid for.

The problem with an ongoing sin in our life is there is no repentance and every day that we continue to live in that state of sin. We continue to thumb our noses to God. We continue to shake our fist to God and because we stand in direct rebellion by choice every single day. This is why addictions are so destructive. Addictions are so destructive to people because every time they make the choice to put the needle in or take the pill or put the cigarette in their mouth they make a choice. Every time they do those things they’re shaking their fist at God saying I know what’s better for me than you.

That’s why those things that are addictive should be avoided before they consume and take over our life by the way which is what all sin does in our life. We look at addicts as though they don’t really have control. They had control at one point and they can have control again with the power of Jesus Christ, but addiction is no different than in the other sin that you choose to let live in your life. Whatever that sin is; Whether it’s pride, Whether it’s greed or Whether it’s deceit.

Whatever that sin is that you allow living in your life, that unrepentant sin will destroy you and take you over just as quick as any addiction will. It will destroy you. It will rot you from the inside out. This is why God was so upset. He had given His command to Moses to give to the people and Moses wasn’t even doing what he was supposed to be doing, but he’s telling other people to do it.
He was a little bit of a hypocrite, wasn’t he? By the way Christians are hypocrites too. A pastor and I were out on visitation and we stop at this man’s house. I was a 13-year-old kid and when we get to the door this giant of a man comes to the door and the pastor invites him to church. The man says, “I’m not going to church, the church is full of hypocrites.” That pastor put his head down and says “yes, you’re right, but there’s always room for one more. Why don’t you join us on Sunday?” I thought oh we’re going to die.

Of course, we’re hypocrites, the world is full of hypocrites and Christians are hypocrites. Shocking, isn’t it? But hopefully if you’re living that Christian life you’re striving not to be a hypocrite, that you’re not saying things that you’re not actually doing in your life, that’s the difference. When we’re hypocritical, when we do things it should bother us, it should eat away at us because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

Moses was living in that constant state of rebellion without repentance. Without repentance, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness, there’s that constant barrier between us and God. So, here’s God’s man, the one that is going to go represent him in the world, and he has built a wall between him and God and he’s going to go and tell Pharaoh what the Pharaoh needs do. You see the problem. Do you see why God wanted to kill him or why he sought to kill him?

Have you ever heard of the Chinese water torture? I don’t know if it’s accurate or not, but the stereotypical way the water was administered was to take the water and just drip it or drizzle it on the prisoner’s forehead. So, you’re leaning back and they just drip, drip, drip and they secure your head so you can’t move it. And that constant dripping of water drives people insane, drives to the point where they just they’ll do anything or say anything to make it stop and all of this is from a drop of water over and over.

If we were to take that same water and dump it over somebody’s head which was popular a couple years ago in the Ice Bucket Challenge, it was shocking, but it was over and life went on. But you take that same water and a little bit a little bit a little bit and it destroys the mind.

Sin is the same way. When we sin, we need to get that sin out of our life quickly. We need to separate ourselves from that sin quickly because that ongoing sin, that we allow to stay, will eat us away. It destroys us every single time.
Something else we can learn from this. If we look in Acts 10:34 it says, “of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”. You know what else we can draw from this? God doesn’t play favourites. God judges us not based upon what we’ve done in the past. But what we’re doing right now. So, if you think because I did all this good so I’m entitled to this little sin. You’re lying to yourself.

Sin is sin. God does not play favourites. If He was going to play favourites, if He was going to overlook a sin this is probably the time, right? For 80 years He has been pouring into Moses. He has talked to Moses. He has given Moses the rod. He has exposed things to him. He has used him and has developed him for 80 years and now he is about to do one of the most amazing things with him. He’s going to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. He’s going to free them, but Moses allowed sin in this life and God couldn’t play favourites he had to be judged.

This brings us to our 3rd and final point. God never ignore sin. We don’t have one example in the Bible where God overlooked sin. Sin is always dealt with. When Jesus Christ went to the cross he dealt with sin. John 7: 4 says “for there is no man that doeth anything in secret and he himself seek it to be known openly if thou do these things show that I self to the world”. You see not only does He not overlook sin, he sees every sin. Many people choose to sin when they’re alone. You know why? Because there are no witnesses, or so we think. God is always there.

He always sees and He always knows and He always deals with sin. Remember the story of the woman at the well. He dealt with her sin. He addressed her sin head on. Every time we see Jesus having interactions he first dealt with sin and then he offered something better. Whether it was that water so we would never thirst anymore or the bread of life he always offered better.

God never ignores sin. If God could ignore sin he would have ignored Adam and Eve eating that one little fruit. It’s a piece of fruit that can be ignored, right? It’s disobedience. It’s a sin of disobedience just like every single sin. I think we’ve gotten ourselves into a culture in Christianity today where we think that that God is going to judge other people’s sin more than he judges our sin. When God looks down He sees sin. He sees sin and it doesn’t matter who sin it is. It’s going to be judged, and most likely He judges His own children more harshly then He judges those that don’t even claim Him.

Jeremiah 23:24 says “can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him say it the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth say it the Lord”. God sees the sin and He deals with sin. That’s why Jesus Christ came to earth.
If you ask the world about Jesus they’re quick to point out that he was a great teacher. They’re quick to point out that he was a great healer. There’re quick to point out how he fed the 5000. How he cared for those that were less fortunate. But you know Jesus did not come here for any of those things. Those things were all part of his ministry because they pointed to the one true reason that he came. He said it himself that he came to seek and to save that which was lost. Not to feed the hungry, not to heal the sick, to seek and to save.

Feeding the hungry and healing the sick were just a means to an end. He came to tell the world what the prophets had told the world. What the judges had told the world. What Moses had told the world that they were all sinners and sin will be judged. Paul said, “the wages of sin is death” in the book of Romans.
The wages of sin is death. Which sin?
 Murder
 Not being circumcised
 Lying
 State of disobedience

Which sin is the sin of death? All sin, any sin. Because of that God left Heaven to die on the cross. Healing is a great thing and I’m sure the people that Jesus Christ healed he transform their life on this earth, but hopefully their life was also transformed for eternity. Because that is what He came for.
Feeding hungry people is an amazing thing it’s a great thing. We had the opportunity to do some of that when we went on our mission trip to Nicaragua. Feeding hungry kids is a great thing, but if all we’re doing is feeding kids we’ve missed the point. A full belly is good for today, but what about a thousand years from now. What about a millennium from now. Where those kids going to be?

It doesn’t matter how full their belly is if they’re burning in hell because we didn’t tell them. God never ignore sin, He always deals with sin. The Bible tells us that we are all sinners. None of us are righteous and since we’re all sinners we all have sin that we must deal with. When Jesus Christ came and he died on the cross, that was God dealing with sin not ignoring sin, but dealing with sin.
When Jesus Christ died on that cross he defeated sin for us. So now we can have sin removed from our life. Jesus died to give us the power that we need to defeat sin and he proved it by walking out of the grave after 3 days.
He defeated sin on the cross. He defeated death by walking out of the grave. He’s a Living God not a dead God and He lives’ today and it’s still his primary purpose to forgive sin today.

If you’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour he is ready today to save you from your sin, to guarantee your place in heaven. If are saved, but you’ve allowed sin to creep back in your deal with. Don’t be embarrassed about that. Be embarrassed before God, but don’t be embarrassed before us because we’re in the same boat. We’ve all allowed sin back into our lives after we got saved.

Sometimes it takes a good kick to the head for us to wake up and realize that we’re living in a state of sin, but every Christian has allowed some sin back in their life. And it’s important if we want to keep those lines of communication open with God, if we want to continue to have him filling us with the spirit and controlling our moves and our minds in leading us and guiding us, if we want that constant connection with him here on this earth it’s important that we continually work to purge that sin out of our lives. No matter how minor it seems to be, no matter how little it seems to be to us.

Maybe you think, but I didn’t kill anybody. Moses did and he was forgiven, but the real affront was living in a state of sin, living in a state of disobedience. “Well my cigarette smoking doesn’t hurt anybody, but me.” That’s enough of a reason to repent.

So Christian maybe you have a temporary sin. Maybe it’s an on-going sin in your life. Whatever it is Jesus Christ has already defeated that sin and is ready to forgive you. It’s up to you to apply, make that conscious choice to apply that power to defeat that sin.

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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 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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