Sunday, December 28, 2008


As I reflect on my recent trip to Honduras, I am more grateful today for what the Lord has given me through His grace. I have spent time thinking about what matters most to me. My mind wanders back to the time when I attended Malone Christian College back in 1989. My instructor challenged each of us in the class to make a list of priorities. As a 19 year old young man I began to reflect on the order of my life and how to keep Christ first in it. I constructed a list that I have tried to maintain to this day.
#1 God – My relationship with God is the most important thing!
Have you ever lost touch with an old friend? I have. My best friend in Grade School & Junior High was Mike Blake. He lived a few blocks from my house – and we both served on the “safety patrol” together. J We enjoyed spending time climbing trees and hanging out in his tree fort. All we could think about in those days was how far we could ride our bikes and who had the most star wars toys. Mike attended church and I remember going to church with him a few times. His parents were nice and they always made me feel welcome in their home. As we entered High School, we started drifting apart with new sets of friends and different classes. Over the next few years it seemed the only time we spoke was in the hallway in between classes. I guess you could say our relationship grew cold.
It’s often said, “Relationships take work.” The same is true with our relationship with God. We can lose touch with God if we don’t work at our relationship with Him.
Maintaining a relationship with God requires staying connected to Him. Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:15-16 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth”. There are three stages to keeping this relationship in check.
#1 Hot – you are growing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 3We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
#2 Cold – you do not know God yet. John 7:28-29 28Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
#3 Luke Warm – you are drifting. Hebrews 2:1 1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
Sometimes we can drift away from God without even realizing it. It’s easy to drift. It takes no effort. That’s what often happens in human relationships. People slowly drift apart.
God doesn’t want us to be lukewarm. He doesn’t want us to drift away from Him. He wants us to pursue a relationship with Him that grows stronger and deeper each day.
#2 Family – I am devoted to my wife & daughter!
As a husband and father I am committed to spending the time needed to nurture these precious relationships. Often I can become so busy at work that I my schedule becomes so full that Beverly and Kaitlyn end up with my leftovers. This isn’t something that I intend to happen but it can happen if I don’t take a careful evaluation of my work load and calendar.
Before God formed the institution we call the “church” He first formed the FAMILY. I have a responsibility to love my family and hold them close to my heart. Living life with joy is very important. We not only need the spiritual aspect of God in every part of our lives but we also need the physical enjoyment of just “having fun together”. We enjoy watching a good movie together, eating at new places, backyard barbecues, football games and cultural elements.
Some of our greatest memories have been made on vacation – away from it all. Laughing and enjoying one another. I know we’re in a busy world and you would think that with all the technology we have available to us that we would be afforded more time for ourselves. But that is not the case! I’m busier than my grandparents ever were.
So, we have to learn to take time to breathe. After pastoring for several years I finally committed to taking Mondays off. I’m so glad that I accepted that word of wisdom. You see, till then I thought I had to be SUPER PASTOR. You know…the pastor who’s at every hospital in town, preaching every wedding and funeral, making every phone call, etc… I thought it couldn’t be done unless my hand was in it. When I disciplined myself to take Mondays off, after awhile I began to catch my breath and learn to balance my family life.
I say this from my heart. I don’t want to spend time trying to build everyone else’s family and end up losing mine all because I was an absentee dad. God help us all to keep our families high up on the priority list!
#3 Work – I am devoted to working to provide for my family!
Everyone has to work. The Scriptures teach us that “if we don’t work, we don’t eat”. What is wrong in America? Why is it that so many people have the mindset to let the government take care of them? I realize that not everyone is lazy, but some people just don’t know the value of a good work ethic. In today’s society, people quit jobs just because their boss gets rough with them. People quit jobs because they want to take a vacation.
God has called me to provide for my family. It’s every man’s desire to be able to be the bread winner. Most men take pride in their ability to do this. It’s built in my DNA to want to do this. I’m fortunate at this point in my life that my work happens to also be my ministry. But that was not always the case. I know full well the juggling act of family, work, ministry, etc. I know how demanding life can be and I know also that when you hold a job you can’t just drop everything to run and have more leisure time or to pursue other points of interest.
We would solve a lot of problems in America today if we broke the dinner plate of some of these guys who are free loaders and lazier than a couch potato. When God blessed you with a family it is your responsibility to carry the load to meet the needs of that family. If you are in a situation where both you and your wife are working to provide an income, benefits, etc. – still strive to keep it all in balance and make sure you keep a good line of communication open.
#4 Ministry – it is a joy to work for the Lord!
All of my life I dreamed of doing what I’m doing now. I truly believe that my parents were very instrumental in positioning me at a young age to hear from the Lord. They were there to channel my energy in the Lord’s direction.
When I wanted to learn to play an instrument, my parents made sure I had what I needed. I first learned to play the violin in the fourth grade. I actually got quite good playing this instrument and learned how to read sheet music. I even learned to play by ear and was taking the violin to church and helping during congregational singing. When I reached Junior High I was embarrassed to play the violin anymore. I thought “I don’t want to play in the orchestra, I want to play in the marching band”. So, I laid the violin down and eventually lost the skill and knowledge to play it. Oh how I wish I could play it again.
When I wanted to play the drums, my parents bought me a cheap set and said “go for it”. When I wanted to learn to play the bass guitar, once again, my parents bought me a bass guitar and together my dad and I learned the chord structures till finally I was playing for our family group and in church. When I wanted to learn to play the piano, dad and mom bought an old upright piano. It was on that old piano that I learned to flow in a minstrel anointing.
You see, there has always been a desire in my heart to want to work for the Lord. (i.e., youth ministry, mowing the church lawn, bus routes, Sunday school, puppets, music, teaching, preaching, etc.) However, ministry doesn’t take God’s place (He’s #1). Ministry doesn’t take my families place (They’re #2) and ministry don’t even take precedence over my work (#3) – as I already stated, I’m blessed to be able to do #3 and #4 simultaneously at this point in my life.
There will always be ministry work to perform. What we must be careful about is putting ministry ahead of everything else. When your priorities get off – you get out of balance. God is a God of balance.
It’s taken me longer than I’d like to admit – but I am finally living up to these priorities to the best of my ability. I’m sure I have a ways to go but I’m committed to this.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't Give Up

In August 2007 I received a word from the Lord that propelled me forward to a specific position.

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

At the time of receiving this word, I was physically tired, experiencing severe back pain and my flesh felt like throwing in the towel. But GOD knows how to send us His God breathed word just when we need it. 

I believe that God masterfully ordains and orchestrates times of refreshing for His children. He positions us for the next level of intense anointing which ultimately prepares us for our operational call. 

Now, having said that remember the enemy of our soul will not sit idly by and assist us to reach unprecedented levels of new anointing. I believe he literally turns up his attack – and believe me he plays dirty. He hits below the belt, kicks, bites and uses illegal holds. He is doing everything he can to tear us down and destroy us. (John 10:10)

As a result of this constant badgering and turbulent attack, there are many in the body of Christ who are becoming of the mindset to just throw in the towel and give up.
  • Perhaps you’re tired.
  • Sick and tired.
  • Tired of coming up short.
  • Tired of fighting.
  • Tired of the pain.
  • Tired of the attacks.
  • Tired of always feeling like you don’t have enough to make it.
  • Tired of feeling defeated.
  • Tired of never being able to get ahead.
  • Tired of feeling like you’ll never be victorious.
Perhaps you’re just ready to give up.  If you feel like that, you need to know that God has a Word you for today… It may not make you feel good, but it’s the Word that’s for you… It may not feel good to you, but it’s good for you… For those of you ready to throw in the towel and give up, the Lord would have me to tell you today simply this: YOU CAN’T GIVE UP!!!
  • Sure, you’re going to get tired.
  • Sure, you feel like you’re ready to give up.
  • Sure, you’re discouraged at times.
  • Sure, it seems that God doesn’t hear you.
  • Sure, it seems that your prayers aren’t getting through.
  • Sure, it seems like you can’t get a breakthrough.
But I hear the Spirit of the Lord declaring….YOU CAN’T GIVE UP!!!

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
  • Don’t lose heart while you’re doing good.
  • Don’t faint while when you’re doing the right thing.
  • Don’t get discouraged and give up.
Friend, there are some dangers in quitting.

If you give up today you will CRUCIFY YOUR CONFESSION!
  • Hebrews 10:35-38 35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 36For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
If you give up today you will CONTAMINATE YOUR CHARACTER!
  • Job gives us an excellent example of character… Job was a man of impeccable character… The Scripture says that; “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil; and still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause (Job 2:3)…”
In a matter of days he lost his:
  • Business
  • Wealth
  • Family
  • Health
But he never blamed God!

What does that say about character?

  • You see, there’s a difference between your character and your reputation.
  • Your reputation is who people think I am. 
  • Your character is who God knows me to be.

Job had lost all, and to add insult to injury, his friends began to turn on him and speculate as to why all this happened… They said it was because he had hidden sin in his life… (Sounds like people today…) But look how Job responded… From chapters 4-37, he defends his stance against friends and his wife, as to why he remains ‘on the Lord’s side…’ Through the midst of all hell and havoc, Job says, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him…”

No matter what comes your way, you’ve got to be like Job and hang in there for the long haul…
  • In chapter 38, God begins to reveal Himself and His purpose to Job… He asks Job; “Who are you to question me…? Who are you to question me about what I allow you to go through in life…?” God is answering Job in response to him asking God to “explain” himself.
  • Even in the midst of the questioning (rebuke) from God, Job still maintains his integrity and character by admitting that he is nothing is comparison to God.
  • Real character will always keep you in check as it relates to where you stand with God.
  • Job didn’t contaminate himself (his character) by succumbing to the attacks of the enemy, by allowing his friends to persuade him in the midst of his trying times.
  • Job reinforces to us indeed that in the worst of adversities, that YOU CAN’T GIVE UP!
I want to encourage you today that YOU WILL RECEIVE A GREAT REWARD!
  • The first thing God did in response to Job maintaining his character was rebuke his friends.
  • After he rebukes his friends, he restored his fortunes.
  • The Bible says the he received double of everything that he had.
  • Why? Because he didn’t give up.
  • He understood that YOU CAN’T GIVE UP!
There is an anointing flowing at Bethel Family Worship Center. Because of your connection here – that anointing rests on you also! You are going to need that anointing to transition to the next level. But you’ll never get it if you GIVE UP.
  • Your family won’t run after God with fervency if you GIVE UP.
  • Your victory will not come if you GIVE UP.
  • Your struggle will continue to cause you to stumble if you GIVE UP.
I declare to you today that GIVING UP IS NOT OPTION!
  • Don’t give up Worship
  • Don’t give up Fellowship
  • Don’t give up Discipleship
  • Don’t give up Relationship
  • Don’t give up Stewardship
  • Don’t give up Membership
Stay connected and you’ll flourish. Disconnect and you’ll become aimless and end up making decisions in the time of despondency that will cause you more grief later.
Stay the course! Ride the wave! Keep the faith! Fight the good fight!
You will reap if you FAINT NOT!

Mnistry Relationship Through Mentorship

Philippians 2:19-21 19But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
Paul was thrilled to claim Timothy as his son in the faith. I can imagine that Timothy was just as thrilled to have Paul as a spiritual father.
Both had a perspective of their relationship:
  • Timothy was young and could be relied on.
  • Timothy could check on the churches while Paul was under arrest.
  • Paul could trust Timothy.
  • Paul knew Timothy would handle problems/situations just like him.
  • Timothy had proven his character.
  • Timothy would take care of the churches just like Paul would.
  • He had witnessed the highs and lows of ministry.
  • He witnessed the miracles in Paul's ministry.
  • He felt the love of his spiritual father.
  • Paul & Timothy serve to me as a model of "ministry mentorship" through their relationship. I guess that's why to this day we consider young men & women as "young Timothy's."
Relationships in ministry are vital! I realize that not everyone will be your "best friend" - however, we must place value on all the relationships God affords us.
I have practiced this model for many years now:
  • Paul you're following.
  • Barnabas you're walking beside.
  • Timothy you're leading
Identifying my relationships in these three categories has brought clarity to each relationship.
I am also learning to adopt the following Five Levels of Relationship in my life, based on the relationships of Jesus & Moses:
  • One - John the beloved
  • Three - Peter, James & John
  • Twelve - Disciples
  • Seventy - Sent two by two
  • Multitude - Showed up everywhere He went
  • One - Joshua
  • Three - Joshua, Aaron, Hur
  • Twelve - 12 Tribes
  • Seventy - Elders
  • Multitude - a multitude came out of Egypt

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Does The Bible Say About Tattoos?

It is clear that we are living in the end times, right before the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to rapture home His blood-bought bride, the Church. It is also clear that these are perilous times. (2 Timothy 3:1)
The current trend that more and more Christians seem to be picking up is tattooing. There are even “Christian” tattoo shops opening up, and deceived Christians are flocking to them more and more. They justify this activity by saying they are “tattooing for Jesus” and it’s fun to sport their new, colorful images or statements. Therefore, tattooing is no more an activity that the Bible expressly forbids, but it’s become the latest, cool, fun thing to do; and tattooing is popularly regarded as simply “body art”.
Well, let’s explore what tattooing really is and what God has to say about it.
1. The Mark of Blood
  • The tattooing procedure involves cutting the flesh with a sharp needle or instrument in order to carve out or make designs.
  • The result is something called “blood-letting”.
  • Blood-letting has both occultic and demonic origins as it is considered a power source that is supernaturally unleashed.
  • Many pro-tattoo sources describe tattooing as having a magical, occultic connection with blood and blood-letting as being normal.
  • Several pro-tattoo historians indicate the connection with scarification and blood-letting associated with religious practices.
  • Another source indicates “the importance of licking the blood that was released during tattoo operations” (Steve Gilbert, “Tattoo History: A Source Book”, pg. 181).
  • We read in 1 Kings 18:25-28 the account of the prophets of Baal who met with Elijah to find out who was the true God.
  • These were satanists who were attempting to unleash supernatural power by cutting themselves (vs. 28).
  • In the New Testament, there was a man named Legion who was possessed by demons in Mark 5:1-9 who went about cutting himself with stones. (vs. 5)
  • Leviticus 19:28 says “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” (emphasis mine)
2. The Cup of Devils
  • Historically, the origin of the tattoo is associated with paganism, demonism, Baal worship, shamanism, mysticism, heathenism, cannibalism and many other pagan beliefs.
  • The tattoo has NEVER been connected with Bible believing Christians.
  • But today in the 21st century, the trends are reverting from paganism practices to include the modern Christian and the new “Christian” tattoo shop.
  • Satan is the god of this world and his agenda is to deceive many Christians, especially in the last days.
  • But the fact remains that the tattoo has its roots in beliefs and practices that are demonic and pagan.
  • Many pro-tattoo books indicate that tattooing is a magical rite and the tattooist is respected as a priest or shaman; it is connected to a religious ceremony and performed by priests or priestesses; it is intended to put the human soul in harmony with supernatural forces; at other times dancing accompanies the tattooing ritual to exorcise demons.
  • In other words, it is connected with the spirit world and a tattoo is really much more than simply a body decoration.
  • Today’s popular tattooing craze is “tribal tattoos”, which are pure paganism.
  • These designs bear serious symbolic mystical and occult meanings.
  • They are strongly connected with channels into spiritual and demonic possession.
  • Many pro-tattoo artists and historians can attest to this by saying things like, “tattoos have a power and magic all their own”, “there is in addition to the opening of numerous inlets for evil to enter”, “allowing his clients’ demons to help guide the needle”.
  • Ronald Scutt, in his exhaustive book, Art, Sex and Symbol, covers a lot about the history and culture of tattoos.
  • He documents that most of the time tattoos are associated with spiritual, religious and mystical purposes; linking it to mystical significance, sun-worship, serpent worship, and the sun-god Baal.
  • Author Steve Gilbert, of Tattoo History: A Source Book, p. 99, records, “The Spaniards, who had never heard of tattooing, recognized it at once as the work of Satan.”
  • Yet today’s gullible Christians are out there in droves “marking themselves for Jesus”!
  • Pagan tattooing is not just from the dark ages: many body artists perform ritual tattoos today as the quotes from tattoo authors above bear witness.
  • Some will burn incense or light candles. 1 Corinthians 10:21 says, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
3. The Mark of Death
  • Leviticus 19:28 says, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.”
  • Yet DEATH is the number one theme of tattoos!
  • References from tattoo books again reveal this as a fact: “Death and darkness have always been a classic tattoo theme – skulls, snakes, demons” (The Body Art Book, pg. 56);
  • Henry Ferguson in The Art of the Tattoo, states “probably the most popular tattooed image of today, the all-pervasive grinning skull!”; “Skulls imprinted on skin abound, and depictions of the Grim Reaper are commonly seen”; “Possibly, at the same time, to wear a death’s figure on one’s body may be an invocation of whatever indefinable forces of nature….in an attempt to protect the wearer from such a fate”.
  • Tattoo shops mostly display morbid scenes of death, demons, serpents, and hell.
  • Grim reapers, flaming skulls, snakes crawling through skulls, demons, Satan, pornography, blasphemy, naked flames of hell – every satanic scene of hell is glorified.
  • Who really is the Master Tattooist? Satan, of course! (Revelation 6:8; Hebrews 2:14).
  • He is the author of Death; and the representative of Hell (Revelation 6:8; Matthew 25:41); also of the Serpent (Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:1-2); whereas Jesus is Life (John 1:3; John 6:48; John 11:25; John 14:6; Acts 3:15; Romans 6:23; 1 John 1:1-2; 1 John 5:12).
  • Many tattoo artists embody satanic symbols of death and hell while they display demonic scenes in their shops, calling it “art”.
  • They are often people who demonstrate their allegiance to Satan with vile and filthy depictions of the underworld.
4. The Mark of Rebellion
  • The Bible condemns all rebellion throughout its pages and declares that rebellion is as bad as witchcraft.
  • (1 Samuel 15:23) It is clear that the tattoo has always been an indication of a spirit of rebellion and deviancy on its wearers.
  • All the tattoo books make comments about tattooing being rebellious.
  • In addition, the tattoo is considered a mark of disgrace or reproach by the same tattoo books.
  • Throughout history, the tattoo was used to mark the criminal, adulterers, traitors, deserters, the deviant and outcast.
  • Thirdly, it has been the mark of the sideshow freak throughout history.
  • Also, it is the mark of indecency.
  • They were associated with barbarians in barbaric, immoral Greece and Rome. One tattoo book, “Art, Sex and Symbol”, 1974, by Ronald Scutt, pg. 179, says “In a society that considers nudity as dirty, indecent, and subversive or morality … - it is not surprising that decorations to the body are allocated to the same category.”
  • The tattoo is also considered the mark of depravity by many tattoo books.
  • Studies have been done that indicate a high percentage of deviant behaviors and troubled persons that were tattooed.
  • Studies have also been done that link tattoos to homosexuality, lesbianism, and gross sexual perversion.
  • Statements made in many of the tattoo books bear this out.
  • Recent studies on today’s tattooed young people indicate
    • 1) they are nearly four times more likely to engage in sexual intercourse;
    • 2) Over two times more likely to experience alcohol related problems;
    • 3) Nearly two times more likely to use illegal drugs;
    • 4) Over two times more likely to express violent behavior; and
    • 5) Over two times more likely to drop out of high school.
  • What about Jesus?
  • Wasn’t He a rebel?
  • NO WAY!
  • To the contrary: Jesus was 100 percent OBEDIENT unto death – even the death of the Cross! (Philippians 2:8)
  • In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42-44)
  • If there was the slightest chance that Jesus was a rebel, then He would have sinned against God, and we would all be lost!
5. Tattoo’s Deadly Little Secret
  • It is a well-known fact that tattooing runs a risk of acquiring any number of deadly diseases, including Hepatitis C and AIDS.
  • The reason is because the needle that is used to tattoo punctures the skin 3,000 times a minute.
  • In an hour, that would be 180,000 times that puncture wounds provide a potential path to a deadly disease.
  • Not only that, but it is also well documented that tattoo shops are not regulated by the government to uphold medical standards.
  • Also, many tattoo artists do not inform their clients of possible infection from the needle or the ink.
  • The Mayo Clinic sounds a warning about commercial tattooing: “Few states have hygienic regulations to ensure safe tattooing practices in commercial tattoo parlors, and even fewer monitor and enforce standards”. (Body Piercing and Tattoos: More than Skin Deep, Mayo Clinic,
  • Tattoos can cause many chronic skin disorders such as sarcoid, keloid scarring, allergic dermatitis, photo sensitivity reactions, psoriasis, and tumors.
  • Finally, the Bible gives a real warning about this sort of procedure (Psalms 38:5-8)
6. Tattoos and the Bible
  • We know already what Lev. 19:28 says.
  • But people use that to say, “But that’s in the OLD Testament! What about the New?”
  • Well, do you know that Leviticus 19:29 says not to prostitute your daughter; yet it says nothing in the New Testament about that, making it okay to prostitute your child?
  • I think not!
  • These moral laws are timeless and are as applicable now as then.
  • Leviticus 19:28 indicates that we are to not print ANY marks on us.
  • Period.
  • Leviticus 19:26-28 is a condemnation of assorted pagan, witchcraft and heathen practices, of which tattooing is clearly one of them.
  • Every commentary written on Leviticus 19:28 says that tattooing comes from pagan origins.
  • Isaiah 44:5 & Ezekiel 9:4 indicates “he will write with his hand to the Lord.” Some go as far as to say that Jesus Christ is tattooed! (Revelation 19:16)
  • If that is literally true, then Jesus is a sinner who disobeyed Leviticus 19:28.
  • Finally, because our bodies are the Temple of the Living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), God wants them pure for His glory.
  • Defiling the temple of God, him will God destroy (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
  • God meant what He said!
  • (Numbers 23:19; Galatians 6:7-8) 2 Corinthians 6:16 says, in part, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
  • For ye are the temple of the living God.”
7. Tattoo: The Mark of Regret
  • Those who get tattoos while in a backslidden state will forever have to live with them.
  • Even those who flock to get laser surgery in an attempt to remove the tattoos will have to go through a lot of expensive and painful procedures, and yet the tattoo will never be totally removed and will just look ugly.
  • Many who are foolish enough to get tattoos later regret them and hate looking at them.
  • There are many consequences of getting “marked”: spiritual, health, social.
  • Once a person has that mark put on them, they are then in a different category: one of the gang, cool, and spiritually defiled against God who shakes their fist at His law.
  • Not to mention that after getting the tattoo, some serious medical problems could start to germinate.
  • Getting a tattoo can also damage relationships with friends, family, teachers or employers.
  • According to Bonnie B. Graves, Tattooing and Body Piercing, p. 43, many jobs are not available to those who have visible body art. So, then, is getting a tattoo really worth all the consequences?
If you have tattoos and are still unconvinced that any of the above applies to you, then consider this: tattooing, in addition to being disobedient, is idolatrous because it displays an image.
If someone is “tattooing for Jesus” and thinks that’s acceptable, it isn’t because the “Jesus” (or any symbol) you are marking yourself with is an image.
God says very clearly and explicitly that we are to have no other gods before Him, and that it is He and He alone who is supreme. (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 45:5)
The Bible expressly tells us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27), to abstain from the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), and that friendship with the world is enmity with God. (James 4:4).
We are instructed to come out from among them and be separate from the world. (2 Corinthians 6:17) Christians therefore have the responsibility to obey God’s commands and abstain from worldly associations, pastimes, or habits; not just out of duty but because we love God and have a living relationship with Him. (John 14:15).
Please beware that ALL tattooing is wrong, not just the graphic stuff described above.
It all has the same origin in paganism and is expressly commanded by the Lord that we are to avoid this practice at all costs!
If you received tattoos before conversion to Christ, then you have already been forgiven for that.
On the other hand, if you have received tattoos after giving your life to Christ, you need to repent of this sin and not repeat it, under any circumstances, because it is considered abominable.

Our Church and Culture

When you think of the church what comes to your mind? It all depends on who you ask. If you ask someone who has been raised in church all their life, you may hear words that carry an established tone. Words like heritage, tradition & values. If you ask someone who has recently been born again or who is from a younger generation, you will probably hear words that are more relational. Words like friends, connection & acceptance.

Today’s culture has a lot to do with the way we view the church. Depending on your generation you’re either attracted to a more conservative (traditional) church or a more modern (relational) church. More and more we are seeing a surge of the “Starbucks” environment. You know…the place where everyone knows your name and you’re accepted for who you are, over what you are. A place where rules and regulations are replaced with affirmation and acceptance.

You may be wondering how I view the church. Well…I envision a church that will continue to find the “bridge” that will attract, keep & grow a broad base of generations without compromising our message, morals & merit. As I look back over the past nine years at BFWC I see that along the way we’ve been challenged by today’s culture to adapt. I can view this as a negative or a positive – I can either learn to flow with the wave or fight against it.

Personally, I desire to see a church that is connecting with all generations at their present level of reception. Having said that, I do not believe the church has to compromise it’s message one ounce. We are a Pentecostal church – a church that believes in the influence of pure living and holiness accompanied with spiritual power. A church whose emphasis is on growing disciples and evangelizing the world. I envision a church that is distinct & diverse at the same time. A church that doesn’t leave a question mark in the thoughts of our community. A church that is known for its “specialty”. A church that draws a clear line in the sand. A church that is growing both inwardly (spiritual maturity) & outwardly (numerically).

Why can’t we be culturally relevant? We can - if we choose not to compromise our message but adapt our methods to connect with today’s culture. Traditional & relational are words that I’m very much open to. Words that blend the best of two perspectives.

Self Discipline

Numbers 33:1-49
We must travel on the inside before we can travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one.

The first person you lead is YOU
And you can’t lead effectively without self-discipline.

If only the Israelites had remembered this lesson!
  • Numbers 33 provides a review of the entire exodus journey, from Egypt to Jordan.
  • And, boy, was it ever a journey!
  • Tons of manna
  • Far too much grumbling.
  • And it lasted 40 years.
Why didn’t the Israelites get to the Promised Land more quickly? Not because it lay so far away; they could have made the trip in two weeks.
  • The real reason boils down to preparation.
  • The people simply weren’t ready for God’s blessing until 40 years after they began their trip.
How about you?
How is your self-discipline?
Plato said “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”

If you want to be a leader with self-discipline, follow these actions points:

1. Develop and follow your priorities
  • All leaders are pressed for time, but the successful ones have a plan.
  • If you can determine what’s really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it will be much easier to follow through on what’s important.
  • That’s the essence of self-discipline.
2. Make a disciplined lifestyle your goal
  • To be successful, self-discipline can’t be a one time event.
  • It has to become a lifestyle.
  • One of the best ways to nurture such a lifestyle is to develop systems and routines, especially in areas crucial to your long-term growth and success.
  • Once you have them, put them to use every day for the rest of your life.
3. Challenge your excuses
  • Challenge and eliminate any tendency you may have to make excuses.
  • If you can name several reasons why you can’t be self-disciplined, realize that they are really just barriers to your success – all of which need to be challenged if you want to go to the next level.
4. Remove rewards until you finish the job
  • If you lack self-discipline, you may be in the habit of enjoying dessert before eating your vegetables.
  • If you don’t differentiate between the shirkers and their workers, and you reward both the same, you’ll soon find they have a lot more of the former than the later.
5. Stay focused on results
  • Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results, you’re likely to come discourage.
  • The next time you’re facing a must-do task and you’re thinking of doing what’s convenient instead of paying the price, change your focus.
  • Count the benefits of doing what’s right, and then dive in.
Consider the following list of disciplines that followers want in a leader:

  1. They want to see character in their leader
  2. They want to observe competence in their leader
  3. They want to witness compassion in their leader
  4. They want to sense commitment in their leader
  5. They want to feel connection to their leader
  6. They want to make a contribution to their leader
  7. They want to see contrition in their leader
  8. They want to join a cause with their leader
  9. They want to observe consistency in their leader
  10. They want to feel confidence in their leader
  11. They want to sense courage from their leader
  12. They want to spot convictions in their leader