cwkennedy

Weekday devotionals for Christians

5 Good Reasons To Come Back To Church

Church online is awesome.
It works.
But so many are saying, “It’s just not the same as being there.”
And while others would say, “What do you mean come back to church? I never left; I’m online.“
Others are owning that they are beginning to drift.
Here’s our message. The doors of the church are open, and we welcome you.When you are ready.
Some have personal concerns that we will honor along with their sense of timing for when they’re ready to return to church in larger gatherings.

Church Livstreaming is here, and I’m glad about that!
However, I have also appreciated the honesty of several who have shared their church experience with me during these past few months.
While many have worshipped and have been fully engaged through the entire online service, others are also answering emails, eating pancakes, and tending to their kids who need a response.
No matter what, in every conversation, I cheer them on and let them know I’m glad they are online! However, I also want them to experience the fullest that God might have for them.
Hey, I think the Holy Spirit approves of pancakes during church online.😀 We can’t take ourselves too seriously, but we ought to take God very seriously.
My concern as a shepherd of God’s people is that church has become an option for a very busy culture.
The local church is one of only two institutions God ordained for His people. (The other is marriage.)
It is important to continue to see the true value in God’s idea of the Church.
Church attendance is not about getting a gold star, but rather doing things God’s way. There are important things God built into the bigger picture of our design that benefit us through larger gatherings specifically for worship, fellowship, and the proclamation of His Word. Here are a few verses to start out the following statements:
Hebrews 10:23-25
(23) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
(25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

5 Good Reasons To Come Back To Church:


1) Drift is imminent without connection.
People are designed to be in community. Family is the core or foundation of community, but there’s greater breadth and depth when your faith community is enlarged.
As a pastor for many years now, I have seen a clear pattern and correlation between Christians who are in community and Christians who attempt to “go it on their own.”
Drift from God is often the result of some measure of spiritual isolation.
It’s true that no one is required to attend church to be a Christian, but in nearly every story, Christians with the more vibrant walk with Jesus regularly attend a church service.
The busyness and pressures of everyday life can cause your walk with God to become a part of your life rather than the center of your life.

Drift from God will happen without intentional effort, and the church is the primary leader, encourager, and teacher for the intentionality of growing your faith.
Any focused effort that helps a believer seek God helps correct drift.
Drift is imminent without connection.


2) Our worldview helps shape how we live our lives.
A worldview is the set of values and beliefs about the fundamental aspects of reality that ground and influence our perception, thoughts, knowledge, and actions.
Let me offer the obvious, whether or not a person believes in God, creation, and Jesus as the redeemer completely and absolutely changes how they see the world and live their life in comparison to someone who does not believe in or follow God.
You might challenge and say, “Well, I can read that in a book.” Yes, that’s true, but you can’t learn how to live it out in cultural context on your own. (Which takes us back to community.)
Life isn’t mechanical, it’s fluid and nuanced, and it requires intentional conversation to help us to live amidst the complexities of life in a changing culture.
For example, let’s look at the idea of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is easy to understand but extremely complicated to actually live out when someone has been deeply hurt or wronged.
The church is arguably the best place to learn life’s most complex within a Christian worldview.
This impacts the overall direction your life takes, the decisions you make, and the outcomes you experience.


3) Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching, mentoring, and/or discipleship.
From my earliest days as a new Christian to now as a seasoned leader, I have always had coaches or mentors to help me understand, navigate, and live a God-honoring life.
Even with coaching, I have lived far from perfect. I just can’t imagine if I attempted to figure it all out on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t think for myself; it means others show me the way to become and live out my life according to God’s plan.
Coaching experiences come in a wide variety of possibilities.
• It might be a volunteer leader who has a cup of coffee with you to help you think through a difficult decision.
• It might be a pastor who gives you insight into a difficult family situation.
• Or perhaps a spiritual leader who helps you develop your leadership skills.
Like a university education helps prepare a student for a meaningful career, the church helps prepare you to live your life to the fullest in Christ.
John 10:9-10
(9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
(10) The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Living a vibrant spiritual life often requires coaching.


4) The church is a light in your community.
God has given you gifts and opportunities to serve others.
You can do this without the church, but the majority of believers are more likely to get involved when the church leads the way and organizes the opportunities.
When the church organizes the opportunities to serve the community, it multiplies your efforts for a much greater impact.
Here’s the bottom line, the church is designed to be salt and light. The greater the number of Christ-followers who serve, the more significant its impact.


5) Healthy habits bring stability.
A healthy life consists of healthy patterns and rhythms based on biblical principles.
We all understand the impact of good and healthy habits.
If I eat healthy foods once a week but the other six days I each junk food, the results will not be good. It’s the same with exercise. I can work out once a quarter with the greatest of intentions, but you know how much good that will do.
Consistent patterns and habits bring a sense of strength and stability that create a healthy foundation to live by.
A consistent connection with a body of believers is likely the most important habit you can form for a deepening and meaningful spiritual life.
No church is perfect, but any church can help you make progress if you look for the good and determine to develop healthy spiritual habits in your life.

June 24, 2020 Posted by | Coronovirus, Covid-19, Devotional, faith in God, Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Do I Do When Normal is Not Normal?

Fear, Panic, Excitement, Change, Drama, Glee, Hatred, Doom, Gloom…I just summed up the news for you today; so you do not have to spend countless hours filling your mind with the above qualities…Ha Ha Ha. Although it might be helpful emotionally to turn that off for a while and focus on the great opportunities that we have during this time of hardship, difficulty, and change. I fight to keep a positive perspective during difficult times. Even though it is not easy, it is very helpful to stay positive. I will endevour to give you some ideas to help you keep your sanity, be productive, keep your faith in the Almighty God, and have a positive outlook during it all.

I will start the list out by saying the following:

This does not dismiss…
1) The reality of the situation
There’s no question that devastating things are happening in our world, and COVID-19 is at the top of the list right now. My ideas do not pretend to make big problems magically disappear, but they do help us keep leading with a positive spirit.


2) The need to be vigilant
The vast majority of our time and attention is needed to handle what is not normal in our midst.
However, we must remain strong, kind, connected, and reminded of the little things, the important things that make solving the big problems worthwhile.

3) The need for our focus to be on the hope of Christ.
Jesus is and has always been the one who promises to help us with what we cannot solve. He gives wisdom to solve problems, strength to endure challenges, and hope in our ultimate destiny. I’m offering some practical, everyday things that really do help. The calmer, more poised, and at peace, you are personally, the better you can lead the people God has given you responsibility for.

So here is the first one:

1) Establish a new routine.

We are creatures of habit, and routine is important.

A routine is different than a rut. A routine brings stability so we can remain healthy and more productive. A rut is when you are stuck, not growing, and not experiencing spiritual health.

Most of us have recently had our routines blown up. Some of you have kids at home, that will do it. You love your kids, but that’s a big routine breaker.

Then add the fact that perhaps all of you are home – all the time. Nothing further needs to be said.

  • Modify your family systems.
  • Make new plans.
  • Set new routines.

I highly encourage you to organize and simplify.  I have learned in my life that in difficulties and trials, simplicity helps us keep our sanity a little bit longer. I have to remind myself regularly…Keep It Simple S….. (KISS) Ha Ha. I do talk to myself that way…maybe you do too.

That won’t solve all your problems, but it helps you lift your spirits. Starting a new routine also keeps things from going stagnant in your life. When was the last time that you had the opportunity to do_________________?

I do realize that some are still working right now and will not have the time or the will power to do this, but for those of you who do, let me encourage you start a new routine.

And candidly, it will give you something where you can see immediate and tangible results. In a time when it feels like nothing is in your control, it will help your mental health and overall disposition.

….TO BE CONTINUED

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Og, Yeah…He Sounds Familiar

Deuteronomy 3:1-5
(1) Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
(2) And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
(3) So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
(4) And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
(5) All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.

Wow!  God did amazing things back then, and now the 2 1/2 tribes are taking Og’s former lands as a possession!  Can you imagine the kind of stories that could have been told to the children about the conquering of Og?  Now they are living in a place that every where they turned, God was reminding them of what He has done in the past for them.  They are living in the heavily fortified towns that they did not build.  God delivered it into their hands.  What an Awesome God we serve!

One of the great benefits of being reminded of the past victories, is that we can be encouraged that our God that we serve today is the same God that defeated the enemies of old.  If you are saved, your God has no limits!  He has no equal!  He is not worried about an foe or enemy…no matter how legendary and fierce they may be!  Guess what?  That same mighty God that conquers all…. well…He loves you!  He loves you so much!  Nothing makes your God worried.  No one makes your God scared.  Nothing gives your God a panic attack, but rather He attacks panic!…LOL  Not only will He defeat your enemies, but He will also take care of you and supply your needs!

One of the dangers though of being reminded of our blessings on a regular basis, is that we can grow complacent.  Not every one will, but many naturally slide into that bad habit.  Will you be the type of christian that will resolve not to grow complacent and take for granted the blessings of God?  If you want to do this, know this that you will have to work at it.  Our sin nature will constantly resist anything that is good.  It will want you to slide into that which is easiest.  Let’s be the Christians who determine not to take God or His blessings for granted.  As we live our lives and as we get reminded of God’s victories in our lives, lets all stop and thank the Good Lord for all of the great things He has done in our lives!

 

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preserve My Life, Dear Lord, From Fear!

Psalms 64:1-10
(1) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
(2) Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
(3) Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
(4) That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
(5) They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?
(6) They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.
(7) But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.
(8) So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
(9) And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
(10) The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

Here in this Psalm, the wicked might seem like they are about to get a win.  I am reminded of a little quip, “looks can be deceiving”.  This is in reference to the wicked who like to boast…Psalms 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.  Their pride gets the best of them and they allow themselves to be convinced that their way, their plan, their devices are better, stronger, and more powerful than God.

In verse 2, they are conspiring in secret counsel; there is insurrection.
In verse 3, they sharpen their tongues like a sword; they are bending their bows to shoot bitter words.
In verse 4, they will shoot in secret at the perfect; they shoot without any fear of repercussion.
In verse 5, they encourage themselves in evil; they lay snares and think that no one will see them.
In verse 6, they search out reasons and the justification to do the evil.
…….BUT……In verse 7, GOD is about to take care of their wicked, evil ways!
In verse 7, God will shoot at them with 1 arrow. In verse 2, they have several, but God only needs 1 to defeat them!  God’s 1 arrow will wound them…which means they will not be able to recover from it.
In verse 8, They will self-destruct because of God’s wound.  Their words will hurt themselves.
In verse 9, All men will see what God’s 1 arrow did to the enemy and be fearful of God.  They will declare the work of God!  His doing has wise consideration from all people.
In verse 10, Well…the verse speaks for itself….Rejoice! God’s protection is always on time!
Be encouraged dear friend, When man is out of control…God is always in control!

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Fear, Madison Street Baptist Church, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Og? Remember him?

Numbers 32:31-33
(31) And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the LORD hath said unto thy servants, so will we do.
(32) We will pass over armed before the LORD into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.
(33) And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.

Deuteronomy 3:11
(11) For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.

Og King of Bashan was a Giant!  He was feared by many and it has been said that he used his great physical ability to conquer the 60 large, fortified cities found in Deut. 3:4.  He was considered a king of kings (not in the spiritual realm, but in the physical, human realm) because of his physical size, ability in battle, and because of the vast kings that “bowed the knee to him”.  This human man was second to no other human man!  His bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide.  Here is another reference to him as well…Amos 2:9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. 2:10. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite

With that understanding of Og, go back and read the verses above in Numbers 32.  Did you see it?  Did you see the fact that 2 and 1/2 tribes of the “children of Israel” got to inherit Og’s former kingdom?  Why would they be able to inherit his former kingdom?  The answer is, because God defeated Og, King of Bashan.    He delivered Og into the hands of the children of Israel.

God, who delivered Og, can deliver your enemy into your hands as well.  Keep faith in the Almighty, He sees everything, knows everything, and can conquer everything!

To be continued…

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Teaching the Teachable

Philippians 3:10-13
(10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
(11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
(12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

3. Always learn from your past.
This is where the main thought for today is going to be. I believe one of the main frustrations in the life of any individual in the regards to personal failure is the inability to learn from your past. While we all have things in our past, including failures, if we learn from the past defeats or failures in our life, we will be able to grow and avoid the failure in the future. One of the reasons why God allows us to fail is for us to learn from our failures. I know that in my life, certain lessons could not be learned from succeeding. I would say that most of the lessons that stand out in my mind came from a failure so bad, I got burned. My body has a few scars on it from when I did not succeed. I have 2 scars on my right arm because I was running will a porcelain bowl that was filled with popcorn. I was 4 years old, and I was running from my mom who wanted some popcorn. It was a fun moment I was having with my mom, until I turned the corner and my foot slipped out from under me and I fell on top of the bowl. The bowl broke into pieces and a few of those pieces went into my arm. I was screaming bloody murder! Oh the pain! Oh the lesson I learned that day! That is probably my earliest memory ….a failure! Isn’t it amazing how we can remember a detailed description when we suffer? I learned that day not to run (especially from mom) when holding a porcelain bowl.
How good are you from learning from past mistakes, failures, and/or defeats? I would say that the ability to go to God and then be teachable enough to learn from your past will directly affect your ability to grow.
2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

What is hindering you from growing in the Lord? Whatever it is in your life, let me encourage you to remove any hindrances to your growth.

4. Help someone else learn from your mistakes.
Wow, this is not always easy. In order to do this, you must admit you have failed or have been defeated. Some people cannot handle this because their image is most important to them. How sad it is when individuals put their ego, their image, and yes their pride ahead of helping others. I have met many people who fit into that category. I also belong in that category when I allow my pride, ego, and image to get in the way of progress and helping others. We all have our moments of selfishness, but we can fight it and be a help to others.

Helping others learn also helps me learn on a different level. I learned in college a principle in education. That principle is this, “The person that does the work, is the person that does the learning.” This explains why the teacher who studies and prepares for the lesson that they will teach the class is the one who typically knows the most on the subject. When I help someone else learn the vital lessons that I had to learn the hard way, it engrains that lesson into my mind even more. You should try it. Teach someone a vital lesson that really helped you in your life. What starts to happen is growth in your life. Rather than feeling embarrassed, you will feel the gratitude from the heart of your teachable student.
Proverbs 9:9
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

 

June 30, 2017 Posted by | Devotional, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Our Flag Was Still There!!

Image

Happy July 4th!  What an Amazing Blessing it really is to be an American!  Take a moment today while you are celebrating our country’s independence and thank God that America is One Nation Under God!  Thank a Veteran and take 10 minutes and watch this Video:

-Pastor Kennedy

July 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

There is Hope

I know it has been a long time since I have posted something.  I will start these blogs back up soon; and when I do, I will bring everyone up to speed on my life the last 6 months.  Until then, here is something that will bless your heart.

No matter what goes on in your life, remember this…as long as Jesus lives, there IS hope!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqvxnWQB_k0-click this link, it will bless your heart!

Pastor CW Kennedy

October 4, 2012 Posted by | Devotional, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

You Are Due For An Update!

Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

How many things in our life require an update?  Firefox, Google Chrome, Windows, Cell Phone, and i tunes are all important aspects of life to a lot of people that constantly require updates at frequent intervals.  Many people anxiously await a new cell phone or the newest iphone or ipad.  We love to update everything!  How about your spiritual life?

When was the last time that your walk with God received an update?  When was the last time that we became anxious at the prospect that God will update us on what is important?  In order to receive an update, we must be willing to receive the update.  We have to stay connected to God for Him to keep us “up to date”.  I cannot update my computer’s operating system unless I connect it to the internet.  That is the chosen path for my computer to receive updates.  We must stay connected to the Lord to receive the updates that we need.  Are you operating under the “old system”?  That old system might have some bugs and might be out of date and not able to connect properly or to be effective in your daily service.  Last question, when was the last time you got an update?

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Devotional, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoice In the Lord

Psa 73:28  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. 

How do you respond to things around you?  Have you ever thought about your initial response when God allows things in your life?  I think about this all the time.  I want my responses to God’s moving to be that of faith.  This verse in Psalms has always tugged on my heart!  It IS GOOD for me to draw near to God!  I have put my trust in the Lord God!  Why…that I may declare all thy works.  God likes to shine through the works that He does through you!  One tough question for you…does God shine through your works in hard times, or does He look bad because of your response to hardship?  These are tough questions to ask, but they are very important questions.  Will you be a great display of God’s love or are you a display that blames God?  Can you say what Job said when God tested him:

Job 13:15  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. 

Here is a song that might encourage you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyDOtcBX8M8

 

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment