But I Don’t Feel Like Doing It

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May 23, 2018

“But I Don’t Feel Like Doing It”

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  1 Corinthians 9:25

By the time we reach maturity, at whatever chronological age that is, that sentence “But I don’t feel like doing it” should have become irrelevant for us. Sure, we may vent at times with such a complaint, but it should not determine our actions.

Obviously, we should not ever feel like doing anything that violates the rules of civility and morality. When we do feel like doing them we pray for grace not to. However, there are many things we ought to do, whether or not we feel like it. Three mornings a week at 5:00, neither my body nor brain feels like going to the gym to work out. But, when I do, I always feel glad later that I did. What is it you don’t feel like doing?

Taking time to pray, meditating on the Bible, or visiting someone in need are things we can easily put off doing because we “don’t feel like it.” Worship at the appointed time with fellow believers is another big one. The unholy trinity of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh, have a million and one other things to suggest that we do instead.  Yet, we know that not only are we blessed by doing the good we don’t feel like doing, so also is our neighbor blessed.

How do we learn to put aside the “don’t feel like it” excuse?  First, we remember who and whose we are in Christ. Neither we, nor our time belongs to us. God has redeemed us with the blood of Christ to be His people and He desires our fellowship. Through time with Him, we gain strength, guidance, and perspective.  Secondly, recognize that as a community of faith we owe each other the never-paid-off debt of love. Thus, we take time to pray for each other, study the Scriptures and encourage one another in fellowship. Christianity is not about us satisfying our needs, but about us serving others. Thirdly, see such spiritual disciplines as God’s way of equipping us to be His witnesses.  We can only effectively share what we intimately know, and that comes from regular attention to the things of God

Practically speaking, the best way to avoid the “don’t feel like it” alibi is simply to make our disciplines a habit, which will relieve us of the stress of having to make a decision.  Nike, the name that means victory, uses the slogan, “just do it” for a reason.  So in those things that serve God, your neighbor, and your own soul, just do it, whether you feel like it or not.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Guard Your Heart

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May 16, 2018

“Guard Your Heart”

One morning I decided to attack the tall vegetation in the back alley with a double blade weed cutter.  After the back neighbor’s dogs quit barking, it was going very well, until a small particle flew up and hit me in the eye. It turned out to be no problem, but it prompted me to retrieve safety goggles from the garage before whacking any more weeds. Again, all was going well until another particle landed in my mouth.  That too was inconsequential, but rather than spend time getting something to cover my mouth, I just decided to keep my mouth shut.

Even the simplest of tasks can remind us of ones that are more important: like guarding our eyes, not from what can harm them, but from what can corrupt the soul. Job spoke of making a covenant with his eyes, (31:1) so that they would not lead him into temptation and sin. John warned against “desires of the eyes” that are not of God but of the world. (1 Jo. 2:16)  Protecting our eyes guards our souls from accepting as good what is harmful.

Along with the eyes, we are to protect our mouth, not from what goes in it, but from what comes out. Jesus said that what comes out of us reveals the content of our heart, which harbors all matter of sinful desires. (Matt 15:18-19)  If such content is motiving our words, the best guard is to keep the mouth shut. Not everything needs saying, especially if it does not edify.  Christ sanctified our neighbor with His blood shed on the cross. We need not destroy His work with careless and harmful talk. His blood also sanctified us, so that we can open our mouth to speak words that glorify Him and build up our neighbor.

When I finished the alley, a blister reminded me that next time I should also protect my hand.  Yes, Christ sanctified that too.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Slow Down

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May 9, 2018

Slow Down

 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

“Slow down, you move too fast.  You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones; Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy(‘60’s term for cool.)                                       Simon and Garfunkel “59th Street Bridge Song” 1966

A close friend and fellow child of the ‘60’s started singing this song after telling me about the perils of being in a hurry.  I joined in and started reflecting on this song a bit more. Then later I saw a post from another friend on the topic of slowing down. So maybe Someone is telling me to address this with you.

Why slow down? As I was remembering that I had decided lately to make more intentional efforts not to rush about, I came up with three reasons to slow down.

First are the mental mistakes that come with not thinking through things before you do them. That should be obvious to anyone. But for an older person, or one whose mind is overwhelmed with multi-tasking, it is especially imperative to counter any age related decline in mental clarity and the busy-ness of life with a slower pace of thought and action.

Secondly, relationships take a back seat to our rushing about.  It’s been a real joy when I have taken time to visit with someone in a situation where in the past I would have hurried on. Relationships built on deep conversations and casual small talk bring emotional rewards we can’t know until we slow down. People are just plain fascinating and entertaining when you get to know them.

Thirdly, slowing down allows time for the most intimate of all times: moments with God in prayer and meditation.  Disciples whom Jesus had sent on mini-mission trips had returned to tell him about their experiences.  No doubt, there was stress related to this, since Jesus calls them away for solitude and rest. In fact, He Himself modeled that often by going into seclusion for prayer.

Slowing down to talk to God helps us remember our dependency upon His grace and guidance. Jesus, who died and rose from the dead to lift our burdens of sin and shame, invites us to come to Him for rest. Slowing down to rest is good.  Slowing down to rest in Jesus is far, far better.

Slow down.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Confusion and Confession

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May 2, 2018

Confusion and Confession

“But when he came to himself, he said, … “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” Luke 15:17-18 

It is not hard to notice that there is a whole lot of sinning going on in our world. If you have lived long enough, you know there has always been a whole lot of sinning going on. What seems to be truer than it was before, at least by my observation, is that there is more confusion nowadays about what is sinful and what isn’t.

That is especially true in the areas of sexual morality and moral integrity. For many today, gone are the stigmas of extra-marital sexual behavior between both opposite and same sex couples. It also seems that one’s word is not as dependable as it used to be. Vows and promises are too easily broken and truth seems to be an option of convenience, not a moral imperative.

Society seems to be confused. On one hand, our conscience, common sense and Christ tell us right from wrong. On the other hand, louder voices intimidate us into thinking we may be too judgmental or out of step with society if we call sin what it clearly is.

The Prodigal Son of Luke 15 discovered that the antidote for confusion about sin is confession. He “came to himself” when he realized he must confess to his father the truth that his actions were sinful. The confusion and chaos of his life cleared up from that moment on.

Are you confused or ambivalent about some behavior in your life? The human heart is deceptive and capable of telling any lie to keep us captive to sin. Since Jesus says that the truth sets us free, the first step in clearing up your confusion is to tell the truth to yourself and to God about your sin. The truth is that God hates it so much He offered up the life of His Son to pay its penalty. So agree with God that it is serious. Do not wallow in confusion and compromise.

Then from true and humble confession will arise a renewed mind, a purer heart, and forgiveness that will allow you to live in more freedom and joy than ever before. Without confession, there is only confusion. But with confession there is much grace—in Christ.

In Christ,

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz