You got the job!

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Can you remember your very first job interview? If so, do you recall the feelings that it inspired? I would be willing to wager some of the common ones were: Nervousness, outright fear, and uncertainty, to name just a few.

Then when it was finally over, came the wait, which produced more questions than answers. Did I get it, when will they let me know? If the wait dragged on, then came the inevitable doubt about how you presented yourself or your qualifications.

Thanks for taking this quick stroll down memory lane with me. Now that I have got those feelings stirred up, forget them. As followers of Christ we automatically get the job! The difficult part is not in getting the assignment, rather it is in the carrying it out.

I am speaking about the task(s) God would have us undertake once we have accepted His Son Jesus Christ as Savior. If you would, please read Matthew 25:14-30 for the basis of what I propose today.

The verses mentioned above contain Jesus telling the parable of the talents (a talent was a measure of monetary value). This parable is one in a series the Lord was telling in answer to the question of when He will return to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Jesus has already made it known that no one on earth can know the day or hour of His return. Instead of wasting time worrying or wondering when this will be, Jesus teaches that we should be about our God-given task so that no matter when He returns, He will find us ready for Him.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus explains that God gives us responsibility in this work according to the abilities He gives us. The first two servants are given 5 and 2 of these talents respectfully. Each man then goes to work at multiplying what has been entrusted to them. After a long time the Master returns. He is overjoyed that these two servants have done so well with what he has tasked them with.

It is the person who received only one talent that I can best relate to. In the parable he concocts some lame excuses for avoiding what he has been requested to do by simply burying the talent in the ground. When he is approached by the Master, he is rebuked for his poor attitude and unwillingness to use what had been given him to further the master’s business.

I was headed in a similar direction. From very early on in my Christian life I had been encouraged by my many folks to consider using what God had given me and enter full-time ministry. I heard things like, ‘You have a pastor’s heart,’ and, ‘I find you very easy to talk to.’

My response at the time to these obviously mis-guided people was ‘thanks but no thanks. I have too much on my plate at this time.’ I would then list the many things that I had to see to. This would quiet those well-meaning voices for a time, but none of my excuses could ever completely still the One that kept tugging on my heart.

These days, I am ever so grateful that God shows abundant patience with me. When I finally gave up rationalizing my disobedience away and embraced the talent God had given me, my life has been put on the path that I now know was the one God had planned for me.

Like the two who took what the Master gave them and went to work for him, I too have been invited into my Master’s joy. And yes, like in the parable where the obedient servants were then given more responsibility, I have more these days as well. As I remember who it is that tasks me in this way, and that He makes available to me all I need to accomplish it, the joy is on-going.

My last bit of advice on this topic is that you embrace what God gives you to do immediately. Don’t put it off. There are blessings to be had, both by you and those you will encounter. And even if you were not to realize a single blessing as you undertake your Kingdom call, you will have the deep satisfaction in your soul that you are simple being obedient to God’s greater plan.

Lastly, there will be no better place to be than at your God-given assignment should He come back to settle accounts today. I realize that some folks work best under a looming deadline and in the workday world that might be ok. Not so in the all-important call that God gives you. Grab and run with it today! As you do, may you find the indescribable joy that comes from knowing you are right in the middle of God’s will for you!

Be blessed and be a blessing today,

Pastor Chuck.

Is this the end (or a beginning)?

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Frequently, when folks are knocked from the routine of their lives by world events, I am asked if I think this is the start of the end times that the Bible speaks of. The corona pandemic certainly falls under this category, perhaps bringing this question to me more than ever.

My answer to the question is  definite “I do not know.” I base my uncertainty not on my inability to fathom the depths of the pandemic, but rather on the very words of Jesus Himself. His disciples we’re coming to grips with the fact that the Lord would be leaving them. Having heard Jesus say that He would return, they were looking for when that time would occur.

As recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, the disciples asked Him, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3a NIV)

The answer Jesus gave them is the same one He gives all of us concerning the when of the end of the world: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36 NIV)

Because the Lord Himself tells us we cannot know when the end will come; I believe the better question to ask is this: “Am I ready for His return if this is indeed the end?” Seeing that we will never be able to ascertain the exact date or season of the Second Coming of Christ, trying to decipher current events in this context is fruitless.

Of much more importance (eternally so I might add), is the question posed about our readiness for His re-appearance. Given that I cannot know the day or hour, what I can control is whether or not I am prepared for the triumphant return of King Jesus. Please understand, my preparation has no ‘to do’ list attached. What it does entail is my heart position toward Jesus: do I believe He is who He says He is? Was He crucified in my place and resurrected from the dead? Have I asked Him to forgive me of my sinfulness? Having received forgiveness through His grace, does my life reflect the love God has shown me in all I say and do?

Being able to honestly answer yes to these questions allows you to know beyond any doubt that God has poured His loving forgiveness on you. Therefore, whenever He does return, you are ready!

To the believer in Jesus Christ the Second Coming is the end of life as we have known it here on earth and the indescribably awesome beginning of forever life in His presence.

And if, Dear Reader, you are undecided about who Jesus is, might I kindly suggest that you re-consider your stand. If this were truly the end of life on this planet, to you really want to face the possibility of existing forever knowing that you missed the greatest opportunity ever given? Should your evaluation reveal to your heart and mind that you do indeed need the Savior, please answer the above questions again. What a beginning to a never-ending life awaits you!


Pastor Chuck


We’re Definitely One Day Closer

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(image courtesy of c3entertainment)

I recently had a conversation with a young man about the escalating tensions in the Middle East.  Like many, he is convinced that the world is in great peril; that indeed the end is close at hand.  Because of this, he has decided that he wants to put a comfortable chair on his roof and watch as the missiles fly.

As interesting a take on current events as this is, I also believe that like many, this personable fellow is mis-interpreting current events.  To be clear, I am no End-times expert.  Having said this, I do give the following answer each time I am questioned (I guess many assume as a pastor I have special insight; spoiler alert, I don’t) about the end of the world: “Today, we are definitely one day closer to it than we were yesterday.”

Please understand, there is nothing flippant about my response and in fact I base it entirely on what the Scriptures record the Lord Jesus saying on this topic, starting with His answer to His disciples question: “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

Jesus, after giving an account of things that will precede His second coming, then answers His disciples by saying, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) Jesus added, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will return.” (Matthew 24:42)

The young guy wanting to be on his roof, like others, are missing the point of Jesus’ words.  These most recent events in Iran do not singularly represent the nearing of the end of days, but rather are simply more on what Jesus called “birth pains” that the earth and mankind will experience throughout the ages.  I understand these “birth pains” to be all the nastiness, both created by Nature and by man, because of the fallen condition of our planet and those who inhabit it.

I know that we all would sometimes like a glimpse into the future.  Parts of life would seem to be easier to plan for if we had some insight into coming events.  The problem with this approach, concerning things eternal, is that the knowing would decrease or eliminate the need for faith.  I don’t mean to over-simplify this, but when Jesus said you cannot know the day or hour that the end will come, I’m good with that!

Faith, that wonderful gift of God, assures the believer that God has everything under control.  It is a blessing given from the Father that assures us of His never-ending dominion.  To truly trust in God is to trust Him in our chaotic world, where often times seemingly inexplicable things happen to us and to those we love.

Out of this growing faith ( for me it has taken time for me and I’ve still a long way to go!) comes the peace of God that the Bible says transcends all understanding.  Once again, faith leads me to see that there are things beyond me.  One of these is the knowledge of the end times.  Trusting in the forgiveness of the Lord for salvation allows me to rest easily at night even amidst the uncertainty of the world around me.

Therefore, if I can’t and never will figure out exactly the what and when of God’s plans, what am I left to do? For today, I will make my best effort to live out this faith in God by embracing today for just what it is: One day closer to the end than yesterday.  If I am to believe this, all of my actions, indeed all my motivation, ought to be to share this precious gift of faith I have been given with everyone I meet.

I realize this will look different for each of us, and that’s ok.  God is as diverse as He is immeasurable.  I do believe, however, there will be one common denominator: A life lived in faith will be recognizable in the joy present in our countenance.  Though our eyes will take in all that goes on around us, nothing we see with distract us from the awesome truth of God’s saving power.  This truth tells us that Almighty God loves us and in His love He calls us to live this life with the unshakable assurance that He has guaranteed our forever place with Him.

So if you see me up on my roof, I won’t be looking for missiles, but rather it will be to get a better view of the world around me, praising God for who He is and that He has given me this day to worship and enjoy Him, even (or especially) if it’s the last one I get!

Thanks for reading,

Pastor Chuck