Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How are you spending this Holy Saturday

The role f Holy Saturday, originally a day of mourning for the crucified Christ and of expectation of His Resurrection.

In the early Church, Christians gathered on the afternoon of Holy Saturday to pray and to confer the Sacrament of Baptism on catechumens—converts to Christianity who had spent Lent preparing to be received into the Church. (Traditionally "Holy Saturday and the vigil of Pentecost were the only days on which baptism was administered.") This vigil lasted through the night until dawn on Easter Sunday, when the Alleluia was sung for the first time since the beginning of Lent, and the faithful—including the newly baptized—broke their 40-hour fast by receiving Communion.

Today let us remain in prayer and fasting as we remember Good Friday and eagerly await the Easter Resurrection! Be Well, Love P J.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guess What? God is in the office today!

Genesis 1

New International Version (NIV)

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Guess what, God is awesome, powerful and almighty!

So, I'm watching t.v., Christian-programming and listening to peoples issues as well as their theology and I became frustrated. It happens far too often that even us Christians place God in a box of what God can do and can't do.  So for us, Guess What? God is bigger than us and our issues, God is a healer, a problem solver, a creator,  and so much more. 

If I was writing in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) I would say it like this... Hear O Israel! Today I just say Listen up!  GOD CAN HANDEL YOU ISSUE, it's not to hard, big, or too much of a problem. Please turn and take it to God. Please! It might be too much for you to bear by yourself so take it to the creator.

Please take your baggage to the King, Hosanna in the highest. Amen

Friday, March 22, 2013

Walking away free

When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in Heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

 Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.    

The third verse and refrain from Charles A. Tind­ley, Leave It There written in 1916 reminds us today that we serve a God who makes a way out of no way. We serve a Creator that answers prayers. We serve a risen Christ who bears burdens all we have to do is take all of our issues to God and LEAVE them there.  Sometimes we have no problem taking our issues to God or praying over a situation, however we encounter trouble leaving our concerns there with the Lord. Too often after we pray, fast or meditate we get up and go about our daily lives with the same stress, grief and guilt carring the same burdens just like we never took time out to seek God.  

Family today I remind you that Psalms 55:22 says " Cast your cares on the Lord  and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken" God is not going to deal with issues we won't let go of! Let me say it this way in case you missed it. God wants to help us during our times of need, but we must be willing to receive the help. God will not force God's self on us. We must take our issues to God requesting them to be removed and leave them there. 

Creator God, today our prayer is for the strength to let go of issues that we have held on to so long and cast our cares on you. Amen.
Be Well...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

You can tell by how I walk, that I'm not from around here!

There is always someone watching us, everywhere we go and in everything we do. Therefore we must be careful of how we are walking throughout our daily lives so that we don't cause another person to stumble but also to please God. If we choose to follow God and become people of light them we must walk in the light. Others should be able to tell who we are by the light that we give off in the world, and by the steps we take when walking.  Who can tell you are a Christian by your walk?

1 John 1

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

May God Bless and Keep you this wonderful day.Amen.
Be Well

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How old are you?

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 NIV

Peter speaks to us through this text reminding us that when we come to believe in Christ we are offered salvation even as baby Christians. The challenge that Peter presents us with is growing up in our salvation and becoming mature people of God. So in basic terms Peter ask us these questions.

1) How long have you been a believer?
2) How long have you been going to Church?
3) How have you become a better person?
4) Have you ever read the entire Bible?
5) How many people came to believe in Christ directly because of you.
6)How many Church and community outreach programs have you been directly involved in or led?
7)How many Christian education classes have you taken?
8) How many Christian education classes have you taught?
9) How many people have you helped out and encouraged to become better individuals? 

How old are you? Based on your truthful answer to the questions how old are you? Do you feel that you are a mature Christian? If not how are you planning on growing up? If so then how are you planning on continuing to age and how are you going to help others mature?

Today these things were on my heart as I believe daily we should seek our Creator and seek to become better followers of the God as well as better individuals. We must learn and know how to love ourselves and one another.

Dear God bless all of your creation and continually show us how to love you and one another. Amen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Certain are you?

Many people around the globe are uncertain of their faith, some tried and true Christians have major doubts. I even believe that at some time or another we all question how God is moving and what God is doing in our lives.

In today's text the Physician Luke shares with us these words: LUKE 1: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke provides us whit the basic blueprint to the certainty of our faith.  First Luke reminds us that we are not alone in our common Experience, saying many others believe and have drawn up the same accounts as us. Faith certainty check one.

Secondly Luke reminds us of the authority of the scripture, the BIBLE/ Word of God, the eye witness account which we like Luke were not privy to but have read about and believe was inspired by God.  Faith check two.

Thirdly Luke points to his investigation, study, common sense and reason. Luke says that he did not just trust and believe based on others but he studied and went over the history/ facts then used his Common Sense and Rational Thinking as his third faith certainty check.

Fourthly Luke decides to become part of tradition so that himself and others can be reminded of how Christ truly effected the world and the tenants of living as a follower of Christ. This established the Tradition of what it means to be a Christian, which in turn becomes our fourth faith certainty check.

 Luke has began to provide us with the basic model for verifying the certainty of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior. When used together all four of these should line up and direct us to the certainty of who Christ truly is. When your experience matches other believers, and that matches the word of God, and that matches your research/ rational thinking, and that matches the tradition of the Church then how could you be uncertain about who God is?

As I close understand certainty about the realism of God does not mean that you will never question where God is in a particular moment or situation during your life. That's a whole other topic for an entirely different day.

God enable us to trust in you more daily. Amen.

Be Well, love P.J.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Take A Breath!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV.  

March truly is Madness, there seems to be so much going on in every facet of our lives. Basketball, Football, Baseball, Hockey, EASTER, Spring Breaks and much more. Today's text reminds us to take a breath, relax and focus on the God of hope to supply all of our needs.

Whenever my life get's to crazy my wife always stops and reminds me to pray. Once we pray together I regain my focus and remember that life will always have its seasons of March Madness and when that happens we turn to God and trust in Christ!

Family when your life gets chaotic trust in him who saves and offers peace. Amen.

Be Well, PJ

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Be Compassionate!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 NIV

The King of POP, MJ had a song called Heal the World. In this song he sung about compassion and love for one another. In today's text taken from Colossians 3, Apostle Paul reminds us that as people who serve the God of love we are to clothe ourselves in compassion.  In other words wear compassion as our coat!
 Therefore we are not to hate, judge, condemn, put on blast, seek revenge, or be mean spirited to anyone, instead be compassionate to all! We are all created by God. So today have compassion, be compassionate as we seek to change and indeed heal the world through our love. Even with those whom we don't agree or see eye to eye with, be compassionate to them as well as your enemies. MJ, Paul and Christ would agree everyone needs and deserves love, the SAVED and the SINNER.

Dear God remind us today that you have called us to love others through patience, humility, gentleness, kindness and compassion. Guide our hearts, mouths, minds, and actions this Saturday in Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

That's Love

John 8

New International Version (NIV)
 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

That's LOVE, Jesus forgave the woman regardless of her issues because Christ understands that we all have sinned and fallen short of perfection. Therefore Christ offers us salvation in-spite of ourselves. Glory be to God for loving us so much. However there is a stipulation, Christ tells the woman "Go now and leave your life of sin". Reminding us that once we recognize our faults God requires us to sin no more. We must be better, and love stronger. Once we come to Christ we are then responsible for our actions, and are held accountable as we should be.

Dear God, help us to live better, be better and love endlessly in Jesus name. Amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wrestling with a CAVE mentality

1 Kings 19

New International Version (NIV)

Elijah Flees to Horeb

1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Have you ever just wanted to die, asked God to take it all away? That's where the prophet Elijah was in the text. After he had done so much good and people still wanted to kill him he developed a cave mentality where he became comfortable living in a cave. I believe the prophet thought if he could just get away and hide everything would be alright. However while in hiding God spoke to him in a whisper, not in fire or in the thunderstorm and earthquake, but in the silence. God speaks to us when we feel like giving up and go into hiding in the same way today. God speaks to us in the whisper reminding us that he is God and we must go back to where we came from stronger and more active in ministry. POINT- we can not remain in the cave forever. We must get over our fears and our cave mentality!

Dear God, help us caveman and women to come out of the cave and get back to doing your work according to your will. In Jesus name give us strength. Amen!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Forgive, 4 Give, FORGIVE

Matthew 5:22-24 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

I could write about why we should forgive and how many times we have been forgiven, or even the price Jesus paid to forgive us but I think it's self explanatory. Just FORGIVE today let the grudges go and love God, yourself and your neighbor.

Be Well, P.J.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Future with Hope!

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart

Chicago is in the midst of deciding what elementary and high schools must close due to budgeting and staff cuts 129 so far schools have been placed on a possible list of closures. I have been praying and pondering over where is God in the midst of all of this. Our children are indeed our future we must do right by them. I hear God speaking the words of Jeremiah 29:11-13. Despite what schools close and which ones remain open, our job as responsible citizens and Christians is to provide educational and social support to our youth enabling them to prosper and be successful. The city and government will do what it wants and run it's agenda, however we have a Kingdom agenda. Let's get to work!

Dear God provide us with the ideas, strategy, and personnel to work with our youth and help them be the best that they can be. Use us dear Lord as your servants to make a way providing a future with hope in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Love P.J.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Feeling Frustrated?

Do you ever have times in your lives where it seems that there is always an obstacle to get around, a hurdle to jump over and a boulder to move? 

During times of trials, it can seem that we are taking one step forward and five steps backwards. When I find myself constantly trying to accomplish the same things, I get extremely frustrated. I get frustrated and agitated because things are not moving in the right direction, fast enough or easy enough

Some times it seems like the adversaries of Christ are winning the world over, but Jesus reminds us in today's text that we are not alone. Christ ensures us  in verse 33 that we will have trouble, but also through him we can overcome the world. That is the best (GOOD) news I can hear when I am feeling frustrated and felling like giving up. Therefore the same word I share with you today, don't give up or give in, remember that through Christ you can overcome the world despite the obstacles in-front of you!   

John 16:29-33(NIV)

29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Be blessed today, and spread a word of love and peace everywhere that you may go. Go in peace, in Jesus name. Amen.

Love, P.J.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Words Coming Out of Your Mouth?

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 NIV

How many times do you speak in a day, how many words do you an hour? How much do you speak about God and all that God is doing in the world?  Dr. Louann Brizendine, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco states in ``The Female Brain" that ``A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000.". So out of your 0-20,000 words every 24 hours how often is the good news of God coming out of your mouth! Scriptures reminds us that the power of life and death comes from the tongue!  So how are you speaking life and positivity to someone today?  You still have time because the day is still young, sow some Godly words into someone today.

Dear God let our minds and mouths be focused on you daily. In Jesus name Amen.

Be Well, P.J.

Friday, March 1, 2013

It Keeps Snowing!

By the third time I cleaned off my wife's car this morning I was exhausted, as I looked out our picture window minutes later it was covered all over again. It keeps snowing I exclaimed, frustrated and upset at my hard work being done in vain I was determined not to go back out to clean the car off another time.  Then I thought about how God must feel when we mess up and sin. I know how many times I have promised God things that I will not do again and then I go do them. My sin is like the snow falling this morning it keeps coming, even after God cleans me up. Unlike me I am so thankful that God does not get frustrated and upset enough to stop cleaning our sins away. So praise God who forgives all sins and redeems all life if we accept God, God accepts us. Let's look:
Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Dear God please keep cleaning us up, and help us to tell others of your excellent love and forgiveness today. Amen. 

Love PJ.