Pastor’s Blog

We Are Called to Step In!

One of the greatest tools a Christian has in defeating sin, is the life of another Christian. Sometimes we can think that it is none of our business if another person chooses to sin. They think they are being judgmental if they confront or address someone’s sin. The world around us tells us not to get involved, but inaction doesn’t allow us to be an effective brother or sister in Christ.
 
As Christians we are aware that sin brings horrible consequences, even death. (Rom. 6:23) We understand sin destroys relationships, marriages, and has the power to steal peace or joy. When we see someone wandering from the truth in to sin and error, what are we to do? Lets’ look at Jesus for our example. First, he wept with a broken heart over those in sin and far from truth (Matt. 23:37-39). Second, He prayed for others not to fall to sin (Jn. 17) Then, He warned many who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20-25). Finally He was willing to step in and die in order to save others from sins consequences and to offer a better way. So, Jesus didn’t stand by idle, He took an active role in turning others from sin toward God.
 
“Minding your own business” may save you from some hardship but it will not help a brother or sister in need. If you truly understand the serious consequences facing those who practice sin, you can’t stay by idle. It is our duty and calling to weep over, pray for, and even confront and keep accountable those who have fallen into a life of sin. James reminds us how important this is as a Christian: My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Jam. 5:19-20)
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


This is a gift of God

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
 
What is the purpose of your prosperity? God owns it all. He supplies it and searches for men and women to entrust this material world He owns. Unbelievers and many believers alike cut throats and cheat as they compete for their slice of the prosperity pie. But the hand of God pours out blessings without trouble on many of His children who have learned to trust Him and work hard. He desires to bless them to extend the kingdom of God in the temporary world we serve. He has no secret reason for blessing His own.
 
It is our job not to miss the purpose of the prosperity with which we have been blessed. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5 that our goal is to please God with these bodies and it is not pleasing to God when we ignore the mandate to extend the Kingdom with out prosperity. As a matter of fact God will take the blessing out of our prosperity. Solomon eludes to this in Eccl. 2:26 “to the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God” God has indeed blessed all of us in America, yet we tend to error with our prosperity in the way we see it and put it to use.
 
We often error by
1) Taking credit for our prosperity (self made)
2) Showing ingratitude for our prosperity (don’t thank God for it)
3) Showing guilt for our prosperity (downplay God’s blessing as if ashamed to have)
4) Learning to show dependence on our prosperity rather than the provider of it. (A false security on things of worldview)
 
Let us not try to fall into these errors with our prosperity instead let us recognize God has blessed us so that we will bless His work and advance His kingdom in the world. It is not for you only so don’t use prosperity only to increase your lifestyle. Accumulating any more than what you need to provide for family, continually run a business or retire is accumulating to much. God has provided you with what you need to live in joy and He has also blessed you to bless others to His glory. Let us take account of all we have, give thanks, and use it wisely for both our own family needs but also to the furtherance of His Kingdom.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Noah “walked with God” Genesis 6:9

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)
 
Noah lived during a very difficult time. The scriptures tell us: No one else loved GOD. No one else did what was right. No one else encouraged Noah’s family and people thought Noah was foolish for obeying and loving GOD.
 
Noah could have said, “Well everyone else is doing evil, so why should I do good?” Or perhaps, “But GOD, the whole world is doing this so why can’t I?!?” Yet Noah didn’t have this attitude. Genesis 6: 9 says that Noah “walked with God”. Noah didn’t allow everyone else’s actions to influence him to do what he knew was wrong. The sad truth is that most people choose not to love and serve GOD. And you may find yourself in situations where the other people around choose to do evil.
 
When that day comes what will you do? Will you follow along and do evil or will you seek after GOD and His will? Choosing to follow GOD is not always easy. It isn’t always what we want to do. But GOD knows best and living like He would have us to will always work out for the best. And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.” (Deut. 6: 24-25)
 
Be sure and make the choice today to follow God even if no one else does. Get to know God’s commands and learn what He is asking you to do. May you stay bold and walk with the Lord even as our culture is falling farther away.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. Galatians 1:18

The apostle Paul experienced the most dramatic conversion in all of history. He was met and blinded by Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) For three days Paul sat in blindness and didn’t eat or drink. Then God sent Ananias to Him called Him as a chosen instrument. (Acts 9:15) Immediately following this Paul began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God– then an odd thing happened. Paul fled to Arabia where He remained in the risen Saviors presence for three years. He was not yet ready for His personal calling through Christ.
 
God causes a lag between our calling and our sending or ministry. Only God knows what He needs to work into or out of us. Our job to stay close in His presence and let Him prepare us for the ministry opportunities He has designed for us. To get to know God is using the lag time to equip us– He will never give us a task without sufficiently equipping us. We must allow God to work on us in the time in between.
 
God may continue to do this at different times in our walk. He allows our vision to become unfocused and blurred or stagnant in our current state. It is a time of re-equipping for our new task or ministry opportunity on the horizon. This is an essential and special time of reflecting, rededicating and renewing. God will reveal your sending or ministry when the time is ready. (our verse above tells of Paul’s sending after His time of preparation)
 
Our job is to enjoy that wilderness time and really get close to God and let Him work out whatever is needed in us to prepare us for the work ahead. Maybe you are in that time, make the most of it, this time with Jesus it is highly important and needed. Relax and relish your relationship allow him to prepare you for work opportunities ahead.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


“We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

Shouldn’t this be the statement of all of our lives. I would encourage you to pray that it would be said of you, the motivation that woke you up in the morning and drove every single decision you make, and the desire you  have is all driven by “God, I want to obey You.” Not people.
 
We all have the dangerous tendency to be people pleasers, to just want to do what will make people like us. Our own pride and ego has a tendency to drive our decisions. Our question is usually how will this affect the way others perceive me? How will this affect the way others think of me? What will others think about this or that?
 
Instead our drive, our every thought, desire, action should be driven by “what will God think of this?” What will most please Him? What is most obedient thing to do compared to His Word? This is what matters!
 
People’s perception, praise and applause is fleeting. It doesn’t last and it’s not what matters. What matters ultimately is what God says, what He has said in His Word, obeying it and then what He will say in the end. We must obey God rather than people. Look at the context in Acts 5, in the middle of persecution, as they were experiencing imprisonment, even when it would cost them dearly they said our goal is not to please the government our goal is to please God. May this motivation drive us today at everything we do.
 
Pray today that God will help you and I to be driven with the zeal to obey Him alone. To deliver us from people pleasing. Ask Him to deliver us, save us from ourselves, from the pride that causes us to want to please anyone else above pleasing Him.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Rev. 20:22

This is the last promise and the final prayer in the Bible. It’s also the last of the “red letters” in the New Testament, bringing to an end the actual spoken words of Christ in Scripture. Jesus is the one “who testifies about these things” and who promises, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” The word testifies is used in the sense of declaring or proclaiming; and the phrase “these things” means the entire book of Revelation.
 
The word quickly could mean either “suddenly” or “soon”—or both. Three times in this chapter Jesus tells us He is coming quickly—in verses 7, 12, and 20. Look, I am coming quickly! Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book. . . . Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me. . . . Yes, I am coming quickly.
The immediate response of John in verse 20 was: “Amen!” This is a term of agreement, meaning “so be it!” Then John offered the Bible’s concluding prayer: “Come, Lord Jesus!” This is the same as the Aramaic term Maranatha. It’s a prayer for us to repeat frequently, however, Christians seldom pray specifically for the Lord to return. Maybe it is time to start including Maranatha in our prayer vocabulary. Shouldn’t we be asking for the Lord to “come” for a number of reasons—- consider the following:
 
Our social unrest – Come Lord quickly and put an end to our violence and hatred, come and end the injustice, bring your righteous judgment and your everlasting peace. Please Lord Come.
 
The Suffering of our loved one – Come Lord quickly end the hardship and suffering and let our loved one inherit, the blessing of their promised everlasting body, the crown of glory that awaits them. Let them come home. Please Lord come quickly!
 
For the Lost Child – Come Lord quickly in Spirit and truth, but come even sooner into the heart of my lost one that He/She too might look for you and speed your return. O Come quickly speed salvation to my lost one!
 
The physical suffering of the world – Come Lord heal and bring an end to the devastation and suffering, end all wars, poverty, hunger, and disease. All creation longs for your renewal, bring soon a new heaven and earth. Please Lord come quickly!
 
There are so many reasons we as His people should be praying Maranatha! Make sure as you pray that you do not miss the opportunity set your focus on the blessings of His return. Let us think of how we’ll feel when our Lord appears in the clouds at any moment and puts an end to all life’s ills. Maranatha! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


The choice to be made: Interaction or Isolation?

You may think I am talking about entering back into society from the Covid-19 isolation, but I am not. The question is based on your Christian witness. Long before the pandemic we as a society have been in more of a habit of social isolation. The most interesting dynamic is that this social segregation is not by necessity, but rather by choice.
 
With culture constantly gaining speed, encouraging isolation, and relying on social media, most people’s influence on other humans is shrinking. Technology is replacing actual personal engagement. We work to restrict the number of people we actually need to “do life.” While we may not ever admit it, we view many in our circles as expendable.
 
Statistics tell us that the average social media user has 338 “friends”. But that same typical user if faced with a personal crisis would actually trust only four of those people. So only about 2% of those who are online “friends” are actually authentic with the potential of regular face-to-face interaction and dependence. The gap between virtual friends and actual friends is widening by the year.
 
As Christ followers living in this culture, we all must ask ourselves: In any given week, how much eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart ministry is occurring in our lives? That question is not about creating guilt, but simply making an honest evaluation of our actual influence and interaction. So how should we respond?
 
If we are going to truly impact the world for the cause of Christ, this will occur through God’s original plan where we as His followers love our neighbors. God entrusted us with His answer for mankind’s eternal problem. So in response to this great act of trust we must choose interaction and come out of isolation.
 
(Read Acts 2:42–47 =take note of all the togetherness and sharing—the interaction!) Decide today that you will look for moments to genuinely interact in an unhurried and intentional manner. Just see what God will do to bring blessing in your life and the life of the kingdom, through you.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (Proverbs 14:23)

There is a question many have asked over the years: Is greatness born or made? Despite the myth of mystical innate genius, researchers have found that it’s actually made through hustle and hard work: by harnessing the supreme power of hard work and diligence.
 
We can’t control the circumstances into which we are born. But there are two things over which every man has complete sovereignty: the use of his time and his effort given. Every man, rich or poor, has twenty-four hours in a day and seven days in a week to labor as much as he wants.
 
Effort and time: these are the great equalizers among men. And how they are used is what separates the mediocre from the extraordinary. The world and the Bible’s greatest men understood this principle; they recognize time as a gift from God not to be wasted, they understand time on this planet is limited, so they put it to work. They understood that glory and honor for God and man go to those who put to use the gifts and redeeming the time wisely and effectively, and so they got to work.
 
Man does not have any innate special powers. No, the secret of success in our Christian walk and our world is making the most of every minute of every single day. Having aim, purpose, and drive. We must accept every opportunity to grow and produce. It is good to know as we wake up early and attack the day’s work with heart and determination that we have been partnered with the power of the Holy Spirit. God is the difference and he makes up the difference in the areas we struggle. But it is our job to work.
 
What will you be able to look back on when your life has been lived? Will it be a life filled with achievement and ministry or an unaccounted for wasteland of life that somehow slipped through your fingers? Better get to work.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


The Importance of a Guarded Mind!

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Prov. 4:23)
 
I am amazed at the amount of adults who stop following Christ. I’m not talking about people who tried Christianity for a few weeks or months but those who walked with Him for years. I’m speaking of committed, spiritual people who, after they’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good for a decade or more, slowly drifted away. You may be thinking that can’t happen, can it?
 
Look up a guy named Demus in your Bible! Solomon also fit that description. He trusted God to be his strength, his wisdom, and his refuge. He enjoyed the fruit of God’s blessings like no one in history. But he forgot to fear God. He forgot to remain obedient. He forgot to guard his mind.
 
Solomon’s worldview drifted from the rock-solid absolutes of scripture to the world of feelings, the worldview of the pagans around him. He forgot to guard his heart. From the wisest man to ever walk the face of the earth to the most disillusioned, Solomon became one of history’s most pathetic characters.
 
I wonder how many of the dead who strayed and paid would love to call back from death and plead with us to live differently. God afforded Solomon such an opportunity through His recorded word as one who walked with, as well as strayed from, God. He is the author of many proverbs, now his voice reverberates down through the ages with lessons from his own indiscretions, ones that left him in mental and moral pain. He says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
 
Solomon knew that the place the enemy would attack would be the heart (mind). The devil plots to conform your mind to the pattern of this world. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Col. 2:8). Solomon knew his own mind had been left unguarded. He lived in the ashes of a ruined life. He warns us from the grave. Have you been guarding your heart? Or do you live by your feelings? Pity the people who leave their minds unguarded, for many of them will stop following Christ.
 
If you have left your heart unguarded, quickly post a watchmen at the gate to your mind. Hear the words of the one who knows “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Significance

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors
under the sun? (Eccl 2:22)
 
The slow pace of this virus time has made me re-evaluate my schedule. At times even though I was “doing less” I have felt that what I was doing was more significant. At other times because I was not “busy” I felt like I was being unproductive or insignificant and I would find myself anxious to be more “productive”.
 
The longing we each have to feel significant is hard to understand but is a very real need. When we are busy, we feel this need is being met. Often, however, we become busy but don’t actually do anything very significant. We can become busy and feel good about ourselves, but our busyness may not contribute very much to forever. The trap of busyness is that we tend to equate the value of our work with the amount of our work. In truth, busyness does not lead to significance, but to self-importance. Many times busy people become puffed up with themselves.
 
The kind of work which God approves of is born in Christ and is not puffed up in self-importance. It does not seek to be busy to feel important, it seeks to find significance for the glory of God. The real significant work is the kind preassigned by the Father. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). I hope through all this I am learning to patiently wait for God to reveal His important work. This kind of watch leads me to a more measured sort of work, a considered, controlled form of busyness that leads to a mindset of true significance.
 
Busyness is a curse of the devil. So what do busy people receive for all their toil and striving? “All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest” (Eccl. 2:23). When I get back to busy I plan to stop and ask myself: “Does this busyness flow from the work God has revealed to me? Or am I merely searching impatiently for significance?” I have learned the person who slows down to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit will labor in significance. The world may never recognize the importance of his good works, but the Spirit will testify with his spirit that it is the work God prepared in advance for him to do. And in the end I would rather have what God gives “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Eccl. 2:26).
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes