Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas

Friday and Saturday my family and I traveled home to visit the "rest of the family".  On our way home we were passing through a town ( I wish I could remember which one) and I noticed their town hall sign said Merry Christmas.   This shocked me.

I was thinking wow, the town actually put that on their sign.  With all the push of the ACLU and other "non-religious" organizations to remove any mention of Christ during the Christmas season I was shocked to see this.
Then it hit me.  We have been so deseneitized as a society that we have come to expect the removal of Christianity from our society.  This is what has happened to us.  We have been inundated in so many different ways..

Now there is an expectation about what should happen.  It has almost become natural.  What I learned is that is how it works.  Not just one instance but over and over again.  Newspaper articles, tv ads, stores, and many other areas.

In foreign countries we call it propaganda.  Websters reminds us:


\ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\ : ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.

I am not trying to be a conspiracy fear monger.  I am not even sure if there is a big planned agenda. I just know that when something is popular people get on the band wagon not thinking about the future consequences. 

What happens is one day we wake up and our Christian surroundings is no longer there.

My goal has been to make sure I remind myself and my family about what Christian values really are.  If we are not teaching then who is? and what do they believe?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Response to Phil Robertson

My heart is heavy as I read all the events of this week.  As most of you know by now Phil Robertson has been suspended from the Duck Dynasty show because of his remarks toward homosexuals. (He did say a few things on race issues but homosexuality has been the main topic.)

Duck Dynasty for many represents Christian values and morality.,  They have over 11 million viewers and are by far the biggest show on A&E.  They have a $400 million dollars business.  Phil Robertson is the head of the family.

Personally I am disappointed in the approach that Phil has taken.  I believe that his crude statements could have been better spoken.  When we as Christians stand for our Biblical values we must state them in respect for others.  I am all for Phil speaking his mind and standing for what the Bible believes but I wish he would speak it with less crudeness.

That being said this is less about a mans words and more about a difference in what the Bible teaches and what the agenda of the homosexual movement is trying to achieve.  All week long I have read and heard stories of their agenda being pushed.  A Methodist pastor goes against his church's teaching and marries a gay couple, the courts tell the states that their laws upholding marriage between one man and one woman to be unconstitutional, and the courts say that a business owner must bake cake and take pictures at a gay wedding or shut down.

This is running rapid and what we believe is not taken into consideration.   Christian beliefs are considered acharic and mean.  We are told that all we must do is love and never talk about evil. Yet to love means also to say what is wrong.

So what should our respone be?

1. Yes when we speak the truth always speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15
    We need to check our heart before we speak.
2. Let what we believe be based in scripture.  Let the scripture speak for it self. 2 Timothy 2:15
     The Bible has been around and survived a lot longer than we have.
3. Hold fast to our profession of faith and what we believe.  Hebrews 10:23
     We have a right to what we believe.
4. Know who our enemy is.  We are not battling flesh and blood but the enemy. Ephesians 6:12
    We are not fighting the person but the enemy.
5. Know that no matter what happens God has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11

Thanks for letting me express.  What do you think?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The ninety and nine

Matthew 18:11-14  For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.  (12)  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?  (13)  And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.  (14)  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

     This may surprise you but this verse has always bothered me.  Maybe it is because I have been connected to the church for so long.  Maybe it is because I have been around Christians for most of my life.  (Although I did not grow up in a Christian family I went to church as a child because of the bus ministry.)
     I am not sure why  it took me so long to get the true meaning of this parable.   I was shocked that Jesus would leave 99 vulnerable sheep to go look for the one who wandered off on their own.  If the sheep would have stayed with the others this would not have been a problem.  What if while he was gone th other 99 decided to leave, or wander off?  This was my thinking.
    Now don't get me wrong I love the idea of seeking the lost but not at the expense of losing the found.  That was at least my reasoning.
    This week it hit me.  The idea here is that Jesus had made preparation for the 99 to be taken care of.  He put them in a safe place.
    I guess I have gotten so use to the church taking care of its own needs that I saw no purpose in leaving them to go find the others.   There should be a point in ministry where you are able to leave Christians to themselves so that we can do "the will of the Father" and that is "to seek those that are lost".  
    If we are always trying to take care of the church then we are never spending time to pursue the lost.  Wow! This is such a simple yet profound revelation.
    It explains why a pastor or church leader gets frustrated because they can't spend time with the lost.   
    There is a place for discipleship in the church.  We are expected to train and help Christians grow.  The question is, "To what ends?"  The answer is not so that they can make it to heaven, this is settled in the decision to follow Christ.  The answer is that we train and lead Christians so that they can to go out and find the lost.
    What if just one Christian decided to reach one person who is lost?  Where would Christianity be.  We must admit that we spend far too much time MAINTAINING the found and not enough time SEEKING the lost.
    Jesus left the 99 to find the 1 because he had the 99 ready.  He expects us to do the same.

So what do you think?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Discipline to Destiny

Yesterday morning I came across this scripture in my devotion, Proverbs 12:1  "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."

     At first I laughed because of how the translation, the  NIV,  is so plain spoken.  Next as I pondered on this verse it grew more and more clear.   

Proverbs is one of those books that seems to have an answer to all problems.  This is especially true when it comes to making right decisions.  The theme is wisdom, not just knowledge of a subject but application.  This is what true wisdom is.

When I read the word discipline my mind automatically went to punishment.  I think this does an injustice to the word.  Discipline is more than punishment but it is giving up something to get a better behavior.  It may means sacrificing something that is good for what is best.

Discipline does not have to have a negative con-nation about it.  Actually if used correctly it is very positive.  This could include disciplining a child to get the best behavior or disciplining ourselves to do the best thing.

 I found a quote that speaks volumes about this subject.  "Discipline is the bridge between Goals and Accomplishments".  Discipine is what brings our goals to reality.  It was what causes us to move from paper to action.

Goals often times are things we leave on paper hoping to see them accomplished.  We become distracted by the "same ole" life and never start moving toward the accomplishment of our goals.  We have great ideas but don't have the discipline to accomplish them.
The final quote that I found is "discipline NOT desire determines your destiny."  This is so true.  If what we desire could become reality just but desiring them we would see so much more accomplished. 

James reminds us in James 1:22 "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. "

So then next time someone mentions discipline think positive and know that it is what causes us to chose the "greater good".

So what do you think?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer: Reaping

Summer: Reaping the Harvest

Characteristics:  Long days, Harvest, Growth

Benefits:  Reaping, Celebration

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self–control.”  Galatians 5:22 

This is the season we have been waiting for.  Finally we get to see the "fruit of our labor".  It is hard to do so much in preparation and waiting on the harvest.  We can easily get impatient waiting.  It seems like it never comes.
    When I was a child I remember planting a bean in a cup.  We would water it daily and see what happens.  One day I got impatient, dug down and pulled the plant out.  The seed had busted but not broke ground.  This caused the plant to die.    Because of my impatience I lost harvest.
     Summer is coming if we have done the work for the harvest.  There is reaping and celebration during these times.  This is a time of growth.  It can be overwhelming but fun. 
     The work is not over.  The reaping must be done.  It takes time but it must be done.
      The summer time is also a time to enjoy the season.  There is a lot of work to be done  but we must enjoy the season.  
       We must keep a balance here.  If we don't reap then the harvest will die.  If we over work then we will be no good for the next season.
       Where are you in your season? We have seen winter, spring and summer next blog we will see fall. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spring: Preparing & Planting

Spring: Preparing & Planting

Characteristics: Transition, Preparation, New Life

Benefits: Planting, Preparation

“Lo, the winter is over; the rains are over and gone”
Song of Songs 2:11

     As soon as we leave the winter season we are so excited to see the spring.  Spring is a season of beauty.  We start seeing new life.  It is refreshing to see the change.
     Spring is a season of transition.  We are making transition from death to new life.  This is a time we plant and we make preparation for the harvest.
     The ground no longer has any hindrances to growth.  If we planted in the winter there would have been no growth.  The soil is not ripe and ready to plant.
      If we could only see the importance of the winter season.  A successful harvest is dependent on it.  This is also true for the spring.  If we don't plant then we won't have a harvest.
     Planting means preparing the ground and putting in the seed.  We can't waste this time.  This depends on the measure of what we sow. 

Galatians 6:7-9  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  (8)  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  (9)  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

There is an important principle that we must learn.  We always reap what we sow.  We only reap what we do so.  So we must be careful and sow in measure of what we want to receive.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Winter: Resting

Winter Season: Season of Resting

Characteristics: Short days, Cold, Darkness, Death

Benefits: Intimacy, Evaluation, Sabbath, Planning, Automatic

that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,”
Ephesians 4:22 

       The winter season is the hardest season to go through.  The times are hard, dry and cold.  In the winter season we see death.  This can be tough.  
       The importance of this season goes unnoticed by what happens.  Because of the death we want to avoid it and get out quickly.  But this is what prepares the other seasons.  Without the death then the land goes unusable. The other crop gets in the way.  There is no change.
     I believe our lives are like this.  We must die to somethings so that we can be ready for the other seasons.  We make room for blessings to happen so we get rid of areas that have clogged up our lives.
     This could be habits that have formed.  Things that take away our focus.
     We need this season to give us rest.  We need to recover for the drain of the other seasons.  
     Because the winter season is dark and sometimes lonely they bring us closer to the Lord.  We learn to depend on Him.   
     It is also a great time to take a Sabbath   Taking time off.  
     If this is the season you are in I hope that you learn to take advantage of the season.  Don't miss the opportunity to see what God has in store.  
      What do you think about the winter season?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Understanding the Seasons

As I sat around with some pastors one Wednesday morning we began to pick apart this idea of season.  We were blessed to have a minister in the room who was also a farmer.  Here are some things that we through out there when it comes to seasons.

A. We are all going through a season

Everyone is in a season in their life.  As close as I can tell we are in one of the four (winter, spring, summer, fall).

B. All seasons have a purpose

This is true in farming and life.  

To me this is one of the most important things to understand.  There is a purpose for all seasons.  Why is God taking us through the season?

C. If we don’t fulfill the purpose of the season then we will cause problems for the others seasons

A farmer must fulfill the purpose of the season to make it easier in other seasons.  Example: Winter season is a time for death and cleaning.  If there is not cleaning then the fruit will be limited.
     We must get the season right to set us up for the other seasons.  

D. Preparation is the key to have a successful season.

There is no time to sit back and relax.  We must always be working and getting ready.

E. We can bear fruit even if we don’t cultivate and plant the land that season.

Sometimes fruit grows without cultivation.  It is not much.  One day I went out in the yard and found cucumbers that had grown.  I didn't plant them nor prune them but they were there because of previous years.  There would have been more if I prepared them like I should.

F. If we want to bear an abundant fruit it is more than just sitting and waiting on the land to come up.

We must work to get the best fruit.  Farmers are always busy.

Here are some thoughts about seasons.  Let me know what you think and if you can add to this. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Understanding the Seasons of Life

Seasons of Life

A few years ago I began to ponder this idea of seasons.  It was inspired from Psalms 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

Two things caught my attention from this passage 1) seasonal fruit 2) prosperity.   Fruit bearing is an important part of my life.   My life as a Christian will be judged by this.  According to Matthew 5 not just any fruit but good fruit.  
     Prosperity is to make progress and succeed.  Success is another important key to living a Christian life.  Success has been defined as taking what the Lord has given you and using it to the best of your ability.  Everyone wants to be successful.
    As I looked deeper I began to discover that as we look at the seasons of the year (winter, spring, summer, and fall) they relate to our lives.  To me this is not about ages of life but many time certain times in our lives.  

Galatians 6:9  reminds And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

     "In due season"  Different seasons serve different purposes in our life.  If we discover what each seasons mean in our life and where we are we can learn a lot.

    Another valuable verse is 2 Timothy 4:2 which challenges us to Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

    So hopefully as we look at this over the next few weeks we can understand more about these seasons.

So, what do you think?

Pastor Hardee

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Regaining My Song

As I sat in camp meeting this week, maybe it is me, but I kept hearing this reoccurring them about "getting back your song".  Dr. Mark Williams spoke about singing the songs in captivity, this was the first message of camp meeting.  This touched me deep. 
Next Mitchell Tolle mentioned about a song to sing, Mark Wallar did the same, finally last night I heard Jonathan Zeigler say, "Some of you are going to get your song back."  This has really intrigued me.  What is it about the song?
Personally I know I singing is a reflection of the mood I am in.  I also know that it is hard to sing a worship song long and still be down.   Songs touch us deep.  This is especially true when they are sung from our spirit. 
You feel these songs.   They run deep.   It is in your heart.  It is in your soul. 
Songs have always been an important part of worship.   Israel showed that.  The New Testament church sung songs. 
Today music is a staple in our society.   We have radio and cd players in our cars.  Music in the stores.  We have mp3 players and music on our phones.  We are surrounded with music.
The question is what am I singing?  I believe it reflects who I am.   This is not about style or the debate of secular vs. Christian music.  This is about who I am.
My prayer this week is that when I leave I have regained my song.  I feel like I have lost some of my song.  My focus is off.   My vision is too naturally focused.
I need the joy of the Lord in my life.  Maybe it is my reason to sing.  Maybe it is the joy of singing.  Maybe it is the song of hope that says everything will be okay.   Lord give me my song.  That song that no one else can sing about you.  That song that only you and I know.

So what is your song?  Below list your favorite song and briefly mention how it reflects you and your life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Keeping the Main Thing The Main Thing

I have been at the SC Church of God Campmeeting this week.  If you are not familiar with this it is a time where pastors, leaders and members across SC come together to hear preachers share what is on their heart.

For me it has always been challenging.  Many times it is a renewal of vision and purpose.  Sometimes there is a total "refocus".  Monday morning has been the most challenging for me so far.

Mitch Tolle reminded us an simple but important principle, "Keep the main thing the main thing."  How easy it is for me to get off track in life and in ministry.

We are reminded of this in Jesus feeding the 5000.  All four of the gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:34-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-13) ) tells us the story, so it must be important.  He challenged the disciples to feed the people.  A young boy didn't have much but he had 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread;.
      Jesus took the small amount and fed the multitude.  The estimates are between 15 to 24,000.  This is no small feat.  
     John 6:35  gives us the crowds reaction.  They wanted to crown Jesus king.  The question is, is this the intention of Jesus?  Did he come to be king? 
       Jesus was upset about this.  He didn't want to be their king he wanted to be their savior.  They wanted him because he filled their belly.  Jesus was more interested in their soul than their belly.  
     Even the disciples missed it.  He had to send them on the lake to learn the lesson of who Christ really is.
       Christ wanted to be their Messiah.  He wanted to have a deep relationship with these disciples.
       I was challenged by this thought.  When it comes to benevolence am just feeding people or also introducing them to Jesus?  Am I bringing them to the Messiah?
       What a challenge.  Am I keeping the main thing, the main thing?  Is my ministry focusing on helping people change lives or just filling their bellies.  Feeding people is good but helping them see Christ has eternal  effects.
      It seems to be that churches gets caught up doing ministry instead of leading people to Christ.  The church can get so focused on maintenance and waiting on God's next blessing that we miss winning souls.
       My prayer is that the Lord will lead us back to being about the Father's business.
       When you get time reread the story of Christ feeding the multitude.  This time look at it as a lesson Jesus is trying to teach instead of another miracle to perform.

        So what do you think?

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's up with this Judge Not

Mat 7:1-2  "Judge not, that you be not judged.  (2)  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

I believe this is one of the most misused scriptures in all the Bible.  Especially in the climate that we live in.  Any time you try to point out any violation of sin this is what you are faced with.

Later on in this same chapter we find in vs. 15 Jesus tells the Christian to know the false prophets by their fruit.  So which is correct.

Well both are.  The word judge here is from the greek word Krino which means to prefer, condemn, decree, pick out.  The connotation is of someone who is trying to tear down another person.  Bringing condemnation to that person.  Focusing more on the sin and less on the hope.   It could also refer to someone who is bringing others down to lift themselves up.

Notice another part is our measure.  What we measure by is just as important as what we are measuring.  If we are measuring by ourselves we will fail.  If we measure by the scriptures we will be okay.

The key over all is to "speak the truth in love" Eph 4:15.

So yes we are to look at the fruit of others and speak from a  heart of love.  We must not be afraid to let the scripture speak for itself.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Taking down the High Places

My goal this year is to read through Bible.  I believe as a pastor out of all the books that I should be very familiar with the Bible is #1.  I have learned though the many years of reading through the Bible that you never become to familiar with scriptures.  There's always something to see.

This morning I was reading in 2Ki 12:2-3  Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.  (3)  But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

I begin to ponder why this verse was written as it is.  Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord.  This should be the end of it.  Yet we see another note that said "the high places were not taken away".  Why this note about Jehoash's life.  Then it hit me.  God was not just interested in how Jehoash lived but also how he prepared the way for the next generation.

God wanted him to get things ready for the people after Jehoash was gone.  So I wonder what walls am I tearing down so that the ones who follow me won't have to break through?

Am I living a life of character and removing the barriers for others?   Am I defeating the demons today so that the next generation won't have to fight the same ones on top of what else they are being bombarded with.

Prayer: Lord help me not to run from or avoid the battles for today.  Let me fight the fights that can help the next generation. Amen.

So, what do you think?