Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jesus & the Swine Flu

We are facing a "pandemic"! People are running through the streets donned with surgical masks and hand sanitizer. We are walking our days out in fear and anxiety over who had, has or will have the dreaded virus.

While I am not here to minimize the threat, and even horrible loss that has been connected to this sickness, I do want to take a minute and see how Jesus handled the issues of sickness in his day.

We are called to be followers of Christ. As children we all played "Follow the Leader", the basketball game "Horse", "Simon Says", or some other game that called for us to follow after someone else and do whatever they did. As followers of Christ we are called to play a similar game, to do what he did and, in his words, even great things.

Leprosy was a big deal in his day. It was contagious and people would walk around the leper colonies to avoid contact. When a leper came around other people they were required to make the statement "unclean, unclean" so people would not get too close. But in Matthew 8 Jesus reached out and touched them, and even crazier, healed them. In fact, not one time in the Bible does Jesus say the word leprosy, he never acknowledged the sickness, just the person.

James 5 says that if you are sick the elders of the church are to "anoint you with oil and the prayer of faith will save the sick". Instead of running away from and avoiding the sick, Jesus and the disciples went after them.

We are going to be devoting this Sunday at The Bridge to this end, saving those who are sick! If you know anyone that is suffering from any sickness bring them with you this week. We are believing God is going to do great and mighty things in the lives of HIS people!

Pass this on to anyone you know that needs prayer and let them know there is still a community of Christ followers that are "following our leader"! Visit us one the web at for information and directions!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Horrible Truth About Your Pastor (By Mark Johnston)

A ministry friend of mine, whom I have known for many years put this on his most recent blog and I feel to pass it on to you today. There are so many emotions I felt while reading it that I feel it is worth the hand-off to you. God bless!

He’s a human being.

"Yep. He worries – like you do. He puts his pants on (or she puts her pants on – or her skirt… or, well, you get the picture) one leg at a time… just like you do. He gets overwhelmed… just like you do.

He feels pressured sometimes. Fifty years ago, he would’ve been a success if he helped people grow close to God. Today, to be a “success” he needs the gift-set of a CEO. He’s supposed to keep attendance and finances on a steadily upward trajectory, speak with a remarkable blend of hipness/diplomacy/skill/humor/passion/anointing, smile constantly, maintain a blog, twitter, network, write a book, regularly convert other Starbucks customers to Jesus, speak at conferences, be covered in at least one national publication… and in his spare time help people grow close to God.

The thing is he’s not a superhero to be revered or an archaic throwback to be derided or a goofball to be avoided. He’s a human being who happens to have been called by God to help you grow spiritually. He’s a leader and a servant; a boss and a busboy; a vision-caster and an empathic listener. Sometimes he leans too far in one direction, sometimes in the other. That’s because he’s human.

But here’s what else I know about your pastor: he prays for you. He works hard to shepherd and feed you. Know why? Because he loves you. He loves you, the passionate Jesus-follower who gives their best to Christ and his body… He loves you, the faithful supporter who’s always at everything… He loves you, the sporadic attendee who assures him “you’re plugged in” when you both know you’ll forget you said that by the time you get to the parking lot… He even loves you, the critic who questions his vision and motives and the direction of the church when he’s not around to defend himself.

His heart, all at once, bubbles over with anticipation and hope for you when you move forward, grasp a little more of God’s grace, and do good for others… and breaks for you when you stumble, suffer, or slack off spiritually. He loves to see you succeed, rejoicing with you in your victories. He hurts to see you fail, weeping with you over your weaknesses. He forgives you. He hopes you’ll forgive him too.

He has nothing to gain in this world by leading and serving you. He’s burned his bridges. All of his “could’ve been’s” have died at the cross of Jesus so he could do this. And you know what? He doesn’t mind at all. If he was asked to run as president, he’d decline… because pastoring you – and doing it well – is more important to him than anything else in the world.

I just thought you’d want to know. Your pastor, whoever he or she may be, is first of all a human being just like you; who just happens to have been called by God to help you grow spiritually.

And he’s glad. I hope you are too."