Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm Sorry

Pastor Tim Howard
April 18, 2009

Grandchildren bring a tremendous amount of joy to a grandparent. The Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord and grandchildren bring honor and glory to the grandparent. Since our grandson lives with us on a regular basis, our joy is multiplied many times over! Having said that, I must admit it’s not all fun and games. My wife and I are learning again that life is full of laughter, joy, and happiness but there are times when sorrow, pain, and darkness supplant the light-hearted spirit. Tears flow as a result.

When people hurt they often cry. Even though tears can be the product of great joy, sorrow is more often the source. Every time we discipline our grandson he expresses his dislike and sorrow for what we have decided to do. He may throw a tantrum, act defiantly or inappropriately verbalize his feelings, but almost always tears accompany these demonstrations.

I can’t speak for you but when I see a person crying I want to stop, listen, comfort, and help them wipe away the tears. I don’t want them to hurt, experience pain, or be filled with sorrow. The quandary is the very tears that come from sorrow can become the spring waters that produce repentance.

In 2 Corinthians 7:9 & 10, Paul says to some Christians, "I am happy now, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance." “Repentance” is one of the most misunderstood words in the Christian vocabulary and possibly one of the most neglected experiences in the Christian life. Repentance is vital if you want Christ's life and power. It means more than shedding a few tears and saying "I'm sorry!" You may be sorry for getting caught, sorry that you have to pay the consequences or sorry for the misery you created, but Godly sorrow involves repentance. When you repent of a sin, you're not just saying, "Oh, I feel terrible about it." You say, "I feel so terrible about my sin, I'm going to stop doing it. I'll reorder my life so I don't have a relapse." That is abandoning your sin. That’s forsaking the sin. That’s repentance!

The Greek word for repentance is "metanoia". The first part of that term is “Meta” and is found in our English words like metabolism and metamorphosis. Therefore, “Metanoia” or repentance is something that brings about change. It is a change of action, thought, attitude, and direction. It turns us back to God who is the author of change and He does more than make us feel guilty. He actually changes us to look more like Him.

If Godly sorrow turns you from sin and helps you follow Jesus more closely then sorrow and tears becomes your friend. Knowing that sorrow can lead to repentance and repentance leads to no regrets, as verse 10 indicates, I’m not sure it’s wise to wipe the tears away so quickly. I like what God said to us in the book of James, chapter 1 verses 3 & 4, “…when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” I’m going to remember this next time my little three-year-old grandson comes to his Grandfather with those baby blue eyes filled with tears. It might be the very thing he needs in order to become a man of God.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Pastor Tim Howard
April 4, 2009

When I was 8 years old, a 7-inch black and white portable television set caught my eye. Immediately I knew I had to have it. One small problem stood between the purchase, and me, however; I couldn’t afford it! I didn’t have the money! I didn’t have a credit card!

If you’re like me, then you really like things! I personally enjoy this technological time in history and I have accumulated a fair amount of ‘things’ for myself since that experience fifty years ago. I like cell phones, computers, navigational systems, 42-inch flat screen HD televisions, homes with a pool, cars that are fast and the list goes on. Wherever you look today, advertisements seem to tell you that wealth and material things will make you happy. What they don’t tell you is when you acquire a lot of stuff, more and more will be required of you to manage and maintain those items. Material things seem to produce far less than the advertisements promise.

The blessing of material wealth is not necessarily wrong from a Biblical perspective. In 1 Tim 6:10, we are told it’s not money but the “love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil.” When people ‘love’ money they stop worshiping God and start worshiping another god. The Bible calls this other god “mammon.” The term describes greed, wealth, avarice and materialism among other things. The people who love money and material things will often succumb to a disease called “Affluenza” as well. If you’re wondering about this word, it was used by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor and David Horsey when they wrote a book using the same name in 2005. Here’s how they describe Affluenza. It’s the pursuit of happiness; trying to find life and joy through affluence or the abundance of wealth. It is a strong desire for more and more, bigger and better.

In these days of economic upheaval and unprecedented debt, you might want to examine yourself to see if this disease has affected you. It often goes undetected and ignored. It may be costly if not treated early. It’s introduced into our personal lives by an addictive virus called consumerism. Those infected by the virus will often deny its presence or yield to this twisted truth: You can’t be happy until you have MORE!

The cure for Affluenza is found in Luke 6:38. But be aware, it doesn’t seem like rational thinking. Here’s what it declares: “Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. " WOW! When you spend money on yourself, you get something in return but when you give to God’s work or to those in need, you take center stage before the Lord. He loves a cheerful giver. God chooses to bless those who give. He makes sure those who are determined to be distribution centers rather than storage houses are satisfied with good things. He provides abundantly and no kid of His goes away hungry. These are difficult economic times, but Jesus is our provider. Let’s remember His words: “it is better to give than to receive.” You don’t need more and more to be happy. You need to follow Jesus! He will make all things work out. Why not visit a church this weekend and let one of the many Pastors introduce you to Him.