Steve Gallagher

Feb 042017
 

I really do love the Bible. I have centered my education, practiced my occupation, and lived my life, as closely as I could by the timeless and immutable truths found there. I have not always been right, but the Bible has. I have not always been trustworthy, but the Bible has.

Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed That I will keep Your righteous judgments.

Psalm 119:97-106 NKJV

These verses express my heart. I would love to say they express my entire being, but there I have failed – often. My actions and thoughts and habits have not always been perfectly in line with the heart of the psalmist as he penned this psalm.

It is interesting that this singer is not identified. There are several good possibilities for his identity which range from Moses to David, or Daniel or Hezekiah or Ezra or Malachi. Whoever it was, it is clear he had a deep love for God and His Word. He wanted to live for God. He knew God’s word was key to his goal. I like to think he had a heart no too unlike my own.

Perhaps his heart along with the prescription to overcome the failure is in the beginning of his second stanza. He writes…

The Bible pictured above is the last of my father’s preaching Bibles along with a sermon note card written with his hand to use as he presented from the book which he too loved.

 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.

Psalm 119:9-12 NKJV

One might think that the Apostle to the Gentiles, having read or sung this psalm may have had these thoughts in mind as he reminded Timothy to “Be diligent [study] to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).

So I spend much time and energy in God’s Word, the Bible. I will never feel as if this is somehow wrong or divisive or futile, even though the more I learn, the less I feel I know. There is depth and breadth which cannot be determined this side of eternity, but I intend to keep digging until I get there. I hope you will as well.

See You SONday,

Pastor Steve

© 2017 Dr. SF Gallagher

Jan 212017
 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote Image result for United States symbolsthe general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The “we” spoken of here is the “we” who have a new president for the forty-fifth time. Please notice that the authors of the above statement use the term “we.” This “we” is not racial. This “we” is not partisan. This “we” is not lifestyle groups. This “we” is not religion based. This “we” has nothing to do with gender. This “we” has nothing to do with the person named president. This “we” is not an indication of which sports team one supports. This “we” is not about the excess or lack of education. This “we” is neither city nor rural. This “we” is neither rich nor poor. This “we” is “the People of the United States.” All of us – Together.

We should remember this because “we the people” are so much better when we are “we the people” rather than we the smaller and more defined group. While many groups are important and valuable, this writer is a member of many groups, may we never forget that we are the “we” who valued one another and fought and built so that we could have a freedom to be us.

If you want to read more, start with this http://constitutionus.com/

See You SONday

Pastor Steve

© 2017 Dr. SF Gallagher – 170121

 

Sep 212016
 

There are trees out there; lots and lots of trees with different leaves and different branches and different stuff growing on the branches and living in them. It is a forest. It is full of trees. Each of which has a meaning and a significance. And you just stand there gawking a one single little scraggly tree as if it is capable of representing and containing all of the beauty and essence and truth of all the other trees, and all the other forest stuff around it and everywhere else. One example in isolation and solitude is not a complete representation of all the rest of the trees. It can never present the whole reality. It can only represent the one tiny little point of view which is shallow and incomplete.

Step back just a bit. It won’t take much. Swivel that neck and wiggle those eyeballs just the tiniest degree. That set of facts, those packages of emotion, the historical markers and opinions that represent that one bit of scruffy timber upon which you have fixed your gaze for so long may be found to be less descriptive than you may have ever imagined possible. It may be found, and clearly demonstrated, that the tree who crowded your favorite tree, which seemed to do nothing useful and everything detrimental to your precious pet twig, was protecting and feeding that little one which he too loves.

Step back and look around. There’s a forest growing all around that little speck of a place which is burned into your vision. There is much going on in this forest right here and a lot of it might have nothing to do with that which you are convinced is the point of all reality.

And, if you still insist on being a one tune mp3 player, or a one subject search engine, at least be sure that your mental singularity gets wrapped around something eternal. Here’s a good laser point question which is both relevant and eternal. Does your obsession over politics, or gun rights, or someone’s life matters, or oils that have odors, or oils that can spill and make great havoc, or human rights, or global warming, or religion, or terrorism, or GMO’s, or life, or sports, or healthcare, or flag waving, or senators, or your sister-in-law who used to be your best friend’s crabby attitude, or ………… – Has any of that helped anyone look beyond their own little overpowered scrub to see the forest and beyond? Has it helped anyone to notice Jesus Christ, and think on things other, and perhaps bigger, than them or you? Would you let some of that breeze blow through your branches for a bit?

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:1-11 NKJV)

See You SONday,

Dr. SF Gallagher

© 2016 Dr. SF Gallagher

Sep 122016
 

I can trace my people entering this land now called the USA to 416 years ago. They came willingly, but in flight from religious persecution. Some of your families were already here when mine arrived. Mine facilitated the bringing of some of yours here. Others of you have different stories of how your families arrived here in the USA.

My people were light skinned Europeans. Yours may be different. But, whatever they did, and whoever they were, they are neither you nor me. Nor are they us. Their stories are our stories, but we are not them. We are now a citizen of the United States of America. And as such, it is time for the lines of history to be recognized as history – unchangeable and not able to be lived again history. We cannot give the land back to the first inhabitants. We would not send others back to the places from which they were brought as slaves. Most would not want to go there anyway. Too much time has passed and too much history written for that to be possible.

But we can stop whining. We can stop dividing. We can stop blaming. We can stop believing that we are owed anything because of that history, whether privilege or reparation, and simply be the people of the United States of America. Not throwing our stories away, but writing new stories of struggling and celebrating together to be something great.

We should stand together and celebrate our national identity. We should refuse to join and celebrate those whose attitudes and actions are tearing apart and drawing the lines of division. We should celebrate the things which make us each unique, but not to the extreme of believing those unique things as either superior or inferior to others.

We should be accepting of people from all walks of life even if we have an extreme difference of opinion. We should believe in one another, even when we don’t necessarily like everything we see. When we believe we are right and the other person is wrong, we should have respect for that other person especially when we cannot respect their stories. We should offer respect for them even when they offer none for us. We should stop viewing disagreement as disrespect and hate. Most of it is not. In fact, most of it is not even offered disrespectfully. It is only heard so. Let’s stop looking for things to be hurt over. Let’s stop listening for hate and offense. Let’s stop accentuating our differences and get back together and be strong. While we celebrate our diversity, which is part of our greatness, may we not forget to celebrate our oneness, which is the most significant part of our greatness.

One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

See You SONday,

Dr. SF Gallagher

 

© 2016 Dr. SF Gallagher

Aug 292016
 

The era of the prophets had long past. Those days were distant in the memories of many people. By this time, four hundred years have passed with no new revelation from God. Silence was all that was heard. There was no permanent indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit to help keep things stirring within every man. There were no visions. There was no one speaking fresh words which God had revealed to them. It is likely that there were many by that time who believed there would never be new word from God and that He was just stories from their long and distant past.

The stories were still told though. People still went to synagogue and temple meetings. Children were still taught what the prophets proclaimed. They still celebrated the goodness of God and worshipped His holiness. Perhaps it was growing more difficult to keep these things going, but they did continue. And, it is clear that the promise of Messiah’s coming was not forgotten.

In that day, there was a family which was of the house and lineage of David. It is likely that they took some amount of pride in that fact for everyone knew that it was this line from which Messiah was to come. But, since the time of David who received God’s promise, many branches of that family tree had formed. So many branches in fact that, it could not be even guessed just which family would be the carriers of that promise. One can be sure though that many children learned early in life that it was their family which had been promised to facilitate the messianic coming, and one of them just could be a firsthand participant in God’s plan. Mary could have been part of one of those families, however it was not likely that she thought anything of it since she was not a son and the emphasis was on sons at that time.

But, one day she was just going about being Mary and something wonderful happened. It would have been very unusual for her to have expected anything of the sort. The Biblical indication is that her first reaction was that of fear. That would be normal. For a person to have such an experience was unheard of. It would have been expected even less of a young girl. It can be assumed that there was an extremely large gamut of emotions running through her, even before she heard the news the angel was bringing. This probably continued after the angel had left.

The angel told her that God had big plans for her. The plans were not in any way normal. The plans were of the sort that could carry some extreme consequences from those who did not believe that God was doing this – and many would be available to be the skeptic. God’s plans for her would make her to appear immoral and without proper ethics. Her integrity was on the line and her future, even her life, could be on the line. There was much reason for her heart to be uneasy and her heart to be full of fear.

But, she was sure that this was of God. As all the things the angel told her came to fruition, her whole being must have been drawn toward God and her faith had to be strengthened more with each passing day. Even if there was no one who would understand, she knew that she was right in the middle of God’s work and plan. She also knew that God would protect her through each event that was before her.

That is why her response to the angel was so simple. She did not need to give a response full of detail and explanation. It was just one simple phrase. But it was a phrase that should come from the lips of anyone who encounters a word from God. “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38-NKJV). She was probably not aware of most of what this would mean. She must have had no idea that whole world would be different when all of this came to be. But she knew who she was. Mary was “The maidservant of the Lord.”

Mary saw herself as the most intimate servant of her Lord. She was ready to serve her Lord with no reservation. She was in the confidence of God. Her life was His and she wanted to do anything for Him, no matter how menial the task or what her reputation would be as a result. She was His maidservant.

It can be assumed that she was not thinking about Bethlehem, nor angels and shepherds, nor magi, nor Herod’s murderous rampage. She certainly would have no idea that before all was complete, she would witness the barbaric murder of this child she would soon carry. A trip to the tomb of her son with more angelic messages and no corpse could not have been on her mind. It is easily inferred that she had no idea of what was really in store for her and this baby to whom she would give birth. But, even without very much in the way of information, she was ready to have God do these things with and through her. She was His maidservant.

If anyone had reason to try to get out of something, Mary could have been in that group. She could have tried to excuse herself from it. She might have even begged that she would be excused from any part of this plan. Without the benefit of hindsight, no one would blame her for not wanting to be involved. She may have even had thoughts of remorse in the beginning for being so willing to take part, especially as the reality of it all began to sink in. Thoughts that we could not imagine must have gone through her mind. But the Biblical record tells us that when all was in full course, she carried a peace in her heart. She “Pondered” and “Kept” things in her heart. God must have continually given her clarity that He was working His plan through her. She knew that it was all being done according to the word of God. She was His maidservant.

Many people desire this kind of assurance from God. People every day, believing that they are following the plan of God, do so with some amount of restlessness. These have said yes to God and live out their lives working hard to make it all happen. One significant difference exists between these people and Mary. These people work to make things happen. Mary rested in the fact that God would make it happen. These say, “Yes Lord, I’ll do that for You.” Mary said. “Yes Lord, do that through me.” When we are convinced that God is doing the work, even though it is being accomplished with our hands, a peaceful assurance will surely follow.

Mary’s lesson for us is this. Rest on God’s word and know it is His work. Be His servant.

See You SONday,
Dr. SF Gallagher

Jan 172016
 

What She Said

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a public gathering where some very notable people were sharing their work on stage. At one point in the presentation, the wife of the group took to the mic to tell her story. Frankly, I don’t even remember what the story was about except that it was about her husband who “isn’t perfect”. Yup, that is what I got from the story. She said “he’s not perfect” at least 6 times in her 3-minute story. It was my take away from the story which was probably meant to build him up about something.

I am sure that the imperfection of her husband was not the point of her story. And hope and believe she did not mean to berate him. It was just a figure of speech meant to show others that she was not bragging. But why not brag just a little when we are talking about our spouses? Why not let the world know just how perfect they are? Let me tell you this. If there is anything that I find lacking in the slightest amount in my wife, you will never know it, especially not in public with a microphone in my hand. I adore my wife. She is the best wife ever. She is the best mother ever. I can’t imagine ever thinking she is less than perfect because she is perfect for me. I pray this to be the story for you.

My heart hurts for the wife of that preacher husband who starts every preaching time with a derogatory story or remark about his wife. I cringe when I hear a wife speak of her husband as her other child. That goes for our children as well. I think the old saying sums it up well. “If you can’t say something nice – Just shut up!” or something like that anyway.

The follower of Jesus Christ sees this as scriptural. Paul tells the followers of Christ at Ephesus…

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV).

The Christ follower knows that what we say should build others up – especially our families. We know that we are to be kind and tenderhearted to one another – especially our families. The husband is to love his wife as his own body (Ephesians 5:28) and as Christ loved the church and “Gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ’s followers know that we are not to “Provoke our children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition [correction to cause understanding] of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). We do have a sense of humor and know how to laugh with one another (Proverbs 15:13, 15 & 17:22). We simply must be sure that it is a matter of “With” rather than “At” when we laugh. In following Jesus Christ the Lord, our words, our actions, our facial expressions, and everything else about us should always build up.

I hope this encourages you.

 

See You SONday,

Pastor Steve

 

© 2016 Dr. SF Gallagher

Jan 022016
 

January 1, 2016

This is a blog which should not need to be written. But it seems that this should be said just one more time to the Christian community. It is not that we need a more Godly government, but that we need more Godly Christians.

2 Chronicles 7:14 makes that clear. While just a bit out of context, and just a bit, it makes the point that is I God’s people who need to be right. God did not tell them if the king or the president or the satrap or the governor or the mayor or the city councilman would get it right that He would take care of the other things. He said to His people, of whom He said they were called by His name would get it right, be humble and praying and repentive, these other things would get right.

In fact, the Bible says that every ruler is there because God put him there and that those rulers are “God’s minister” (Romans 13:4) and that they are to be the executors of God’s wrath on people who practice evil. And they are doing just that, right here in the USA.

What is needed is for God’s people, you know who you are, to get busy again about being God’s people and quit acting like God owes them a single thing. We are to be the slaves of God. Too many people have that turned around. We are to be professors of Holiness and Godliness. Too many people claiming Christ have that upside down.

Please stop saying that “If only we could get a God fearing man in the oval office, all would be well.” That is one of the least important places to worry about having a God fearing man. Before we worry about that, let’s get some god fearing men in our churches. We need more. Let’s get some men to fear God enough to care about actually reading the Bible for life instruction rather than as a catalog for wishes. We need more. Let’s care about doctrine. Let’s concern ourselves with personal righteousness. Let’s put a priority on families the way God intended for them to be – a lifelong commitment the first time. We need more.

And, if we would do stuff like that, God will not need to use the rulers He has placed in those offices to deal with us. May God have mercy on us, and may we stop shifting the blame.

See you SONday,

Pastor Steve

 

 

© 2016 Dr. SF Gallagher

Oct 312015
 

JFG Obit Pic

He Died Before His Death

 

For many years we knew the day would come when there would be no chance to have another conversation. We talked plainly about it many times. We refused to treat it as if it were something which we could sweep away by ignoring the reality. We trusted the scripture that asserts “it is appointed for men to die” (Hebrews 9:27) and “the days of our lives are seventy years, and if by reason of strength they are eighty years” (Psalm 90:10). We never tried to run from it. We actually embraced it with some joy sprinkled with the sadness.

On October 28, 2014, at the age of 77 years, my father breathed his last on earth. It was not the most peaceful death I have witnessed, but it was gentle. There was music playing in the background. He was the musician we were listening to. Mom and I were there with her sisters and a couple others. It was not in any way traumatic. In fact, the moment was welcomed.

I expect that many would say this way of looking at things is cold and perhaps a bit harsh. By the standards of this day, perhaps it is. But we were ready. He was ready.

For more than ten years, my father and I had been discussing this reality. He told me that he wanted me to do his funeral. He also told me what he wanted me to do when I did his funeral. He gave me the note cards and the Bible and the outline. We were ready for the chores. We talked about personal things that I would not dream of writing for public consumption. He shared thoughts and feelings about life and death. He shared regrets and hopes.

Through the years as his lucid moments decreased and his dementia increased, I am convinced we managed to get said what we wanted to say. I knew he had finished, or at least was resigned to know that he may never have another turn, on Christmas day 2013 when he asked me to pray that God would help him to “go on home.” So far I can’t think of anything that I wish I had said to him. I might someday, but I really have nothing on that list. As far as one can be, I think we were prepared.

I guess that is to say that we were prepared for the moment of death and the chores that followed. I am not so sure that we were ready for the process that we would walk through from that Christmas night until the following October. That was a set of experiences for which there is no real preparation unless one has gone through it with another person. Even then, I am convinced that each experience will be just different enough to contain surprises along the way. These can be scary surprises or annoying surprises. These can be painful, or even happy surprises. When any of the various forms of dementia are involved, one can never perfectly know.

At any rate, my father and I were both content that we had said what we could say and that we had done what we could do. This is not to presume anything of him. His mind may have been much more lucid than it would allow his body to display. I often wished I knew what was going on in that head of his. As the lucid moments came to be both fewer and shorter, and the demented moments became more frequent and longer in their presentation, I am sure that he did as well.

I know of no more precise way to describe it than to say that I believe he was done that Christmas night we spent together in his room at the re-hab center. He wanted to have no more of this world. He wanted enough strength to take care of his personal needs and new he would not ever have it again. He wanted to be useful to my mother, yet knew that he would be a burden until his body finally let go. He wished he could preach even just one more time and knew he never would, though he did when he was in his other world and had all those other people around which could be seen by no other person except him. He knew he was done and had only to wait his turn. I am glad that he was aware enough that night to let me know that he was. He gave me the chance to be done as well.

That was the last time I think I ever really spoke with my father. We had moments from time to time. I saw a glimmer in him every once in a while in his face. But I think I never really experienced his presence again. It just never seemed like it was him in there. The words his voice spoke didn’t seem to convey the heart of my dad.

This all must seem somewhat macabre and defeatist. Some may say that I just gave up on an old and dying man before it was really time. Of course this is not true. I never stopped trying to get in there. I never stopped knowing that this was my father and his life was worth every moment we were given. But I also never was able to grab that consciousness which I knew and loved as my father. I have heard it described as him being done before his body was. Maybe it was something like that – I’ll really never know.

Somewhere in my feeble mind, I’ll always think he died before his death. Those are the kind of words he would have used to describe it as well, after all, it was that man who taught me how to use words. But, before that moment when we both knew it was all over except the chores, we did something very important. We said what we needed to say. We showed what needed to be shown. We assured each other of those things which we believed mattered. We let go of those which we knew never really did. We even let go of some things that did matter knowing we had absolutely no control over them. God blessed us with time enough for that. And in the moment when the chores were finally done, we both found rest.

See You SONday,

Pastor Steve

© 2015 Dr. SF Gallagher

Jun 172015
 

June 17, 2015

Three Realities of Church (Pt. 3)

In this installments to this blog, I intend to present the third of three realities of church work that deserve a quick reminder. As you, the reader, remember these truths, I trust they will renew your readiness to serve in your local church.

“Calling versus Coercing”

Another very important aspect regarding God’s work and our place in it speaks to the way the person knows his or her direction. There are people on both sides of the table that believe that coercing is the same as calling. Some leaders believe that they must twist the arms of the worker in order for them to follow God’s direction. Some workers are just as bad. These believe that unless their arms are twisted, there is no real reason to do anything. But there is a difference between the calling of God and the coercion of church leaders. Both the leader and the worker need to understand this. If it takes coercion for someone to follow God’s direction, there is something else that needs attention. That individual is not ready to serve. On that same note, the leader that believes that it is necessary to brow beat and harasses the worker into submission is not ready to be a leader.

This is a “never should be” attitude. When this is the attitude that is leading the church, the church will be bogged down in personality issues and arguments over polity rather than the vital work of evangelism and disciple making for which the church has been instituted.

From one leader to others, Peter writes, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). The leadership role here is clearly described. The leader is responsible to be both a provider of care for the sheep and direction for those sheep to be productive. He is NOT to beat them into submission. Peter makes it clear that it is the task of those who are to follow to, “submit yourselves to your elders” (Vs 5). If every person knows his role and does it, there will be no need to coerce or force the work.

If the leader will take on the “Mind of Christ,” and will in his work strive to “make himself of no reputation,” He will be a leader that others will want to work with. If he will view himself as a servant, obedient to his Lord even “to the point of death,” and perhaps that of the cross with all its implications, he will be a servant true to his Lord. If he will not wear this attitude, his chore has very little chance of being done effectively and the work will suffer.

© 2015 Dr. SF Gallagher

Jun 092015
 

June 9, 2015

Three Realities of Church (Pt. 2)

In this installments to this blog, I intend to present the second of three realities of church work that deserve a quick reminder. As you, the reader, remember these truths, I trust they will renew your readiness to serve in your local church.

“Chore versus Career”

There is also the thought of “Chore versus Career”. It should be understood that change is a part of the reality of all that God has placed on this earth. The fact that you felt a real and secure direction from God to teach that class or lead that committee or whatever your chore might have been in a time now past, this may not be a life long calling. This is even true for the person who is absolutely chosen by God for lifelong career ministry. Every church chore, whether high profile or behind the scenes, should be viewed simply as a chore. It is a necessary, vital, has to be done, no room for error chore. It is a chore that must be done; a chore to be done to the Glory of God; a chore that calls out, “You are the one who must do this thing.” But also remember that God could have chosen someone else to do that chore, and may choose to replace you any day He chooses.

 

The chore is not “Yours” to own. The chore is “Yours” to do. But only yours until it is time for someone else to have the same chore in the same room with the same seat covers and the same dishes. There is only one eternal thing to which God calls us. This is salvation, and this places every bondservant of God in the same place.

 

© 2015 Dr. SF Gallagher

Jun 042015
 

June 4, 2015

Three Realities of Church (Pt. 1)

 

Over the next few installments to this blog, I intend to present three realities of church work that deserve a quick reminder. As you, the reader, remember these truths, I trust they will renew your readiness to serve through your local church.

 

“Role versus Rank”

One of the most important things to understand for every church worker is the concept of “Role versus Rank”.  The reality is that there is no “Rank” in the church except that which is due to God. No pastor, nor deacon, nor elder, nor long time or charter member, nor rich person, nor mean person, nor angry person, nor educated person, nor person with a long Christian lineage – this list is too long now so if you want more, make them up yourself- has any higher importance than any of the other people on or off this list. Even though there are “Roles” that necessitate an amount of leadership and authority, there is not a single person in the church with the place of the dictator. Responsibility absolutely exists, and a lot of it. The proper submission to that place of responsibility also absolutely exists. Many problems ensue very quickly though when either party overdoes his or her part of this equation.

 

In probably every church in the world, there are those who are extremely demanding. It is their thinking that every thought they have is divinely inspired and thus everyone must follow whatever they want. They think they are always right and anyone who does not agree with them must therefore be wrong and should get right with God – this being measured by their agreement with and submission to the thoughts and directions they support. The reality is that these people need to get a right understanding their place in God’s kingdom work.

 

There are others in most churches. These are those who have no opinion whatsoever. Perhaps they have been beaten down so many times that they feel that there is no value in the fight any longer. They may be quiet, jello backed people who think so little of their opinions that they refuse to assert any part of them.  It is also possible that these are simply so apathetic that they really don’t care, feeling that what and how the church goes about her task are plainly unimportant.

 

Both of these people need to gain an understanding of how God intends His church to operate.  It is God’s intentional plan that His church operate with order and with leadership. He gave us the roles of leadership, and the roles that follow His leaders. Knowing which role God has given an individual, and working within that role, will remove many dissentions in the church.

 

© 2015 Dr. SF Gallagher

Apr 252015
 

April 25, 2015

The thing is, that while “Jesus regularly ate dinner with thieves and prostitutes” (seen on Facebook), He never celebrated their theft nor participated in their prostitution. Loving people does not mean approving nor embracing their sin. Nor is love shown by participation in their sin. In fact, this would be the opposite of loving those to whom Jesus gave love.

It seems to be difficult to love people whose sin is different than our own. It also seems difficult to accept love from those who define sinfulness differently. When Jesus bridged that gap, He was maligned and misrepresented by those in the time of His incarnation. Some today still misunderstand. Those who attempt to bridge that gap today are misunderstood as well.

I long for that time when the dark glass will no longer be in the way.

See You SONday,

Dr. SF Gallagher

(c) 2015 SF Gallagher

Jan 032015
 

Guest Blogger JF Gallagher (that’s my son)

January 3, 2015

 

I have been in church my entire life. My father is a Baptist preacher and thereby I know a ton about Jesus the Bible and church stuff in general. This is great. I have a good grasp on what a Christian is and what he does and how he thinks. So, I know what it means to be saved what is should look like how a Christian should live etc. Quite often in the church world, the question arises “How were you saved?” What is your personal salvation story? Your testimony. A simple question and for those who are saved easy to answer. So this brings us back to me, the good little preacher’s boy who when asked this simple question freezes. Why do I stumble through this question? What is so difficult about articulating my salvation story? Perhaps, the problem is that I did not have one. My “salvation story” was actually one of pride and sin.

When I was called on to recount my salvation experience, I recited my story which, deep down, I knew was missing something. I would say was saved when I was young. Since I grew up going to Church every time the doors were open, I knew who God was and what He had done for me. Then, one night in bed He called me and I answered. I knew the steps to take and the words to say so I did. Bam I was saved. Simple and easy, this was the story of how I got saved, or so I thought.

I told myself and everyone who asked that I was saved. I had convinced myself that when I repeated those words to myself in bed with my eyes closed and hands folded that I had asked Jesus into my heart. I was wrong. But, I still had to figure that out. I continued in this dishonest state for years. Whenever I doubted my salvation, I would reassure myself “no, no, remember that one night in your bed? Yea that’s it. See no worries you’re saved.” I could not tolerate the idea that I was not a Christian. After all, what would people say if they found out the preacher’s son was not truly saved. And besides, who could doubt that I was saved? No one did. Except me.

I allowed my pride get in the way of my eternity. Through many church services, I ignored the calling on my heart to preserve my image. I was a well-respected young man of Christ who certainly did not want to lose his status simply because he made a mistake, and besides I was saved. Right? I had become consumed by sin and I allowed it define me. I knew this mindset was not pleasing to God and needed to be changed but, I was unwilling to destroy my reputation. After all, I had an image to maintain. But I still had sin in my life and had to fix it. Okay, no problem. I got this. I am a good church boy. I know how to cure this sin. I have a Bible, I can pray, and hey, I’m already going to church. This should be easy. I can rid myself of this sin no problem. I took the correcting of my sin into my own hands. Well, I tried and failed. I would screw up time and time again. “Oops, I messed up time to try again after all, I’m only human.” I said these words to myself over and over to no avail. I was trapped in my sin. I continued to sin even when I was trying to do what was right (this grew increasingly aggravating). I hated my sin. I should be able to end it. I slowly came to the conclusion that I must be missing something. While “reading” my Bible, and by reading I mean flipping through aimlessly, I stumbled across some verses that finally connected with me.

I read the words again. Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Wo, hey that’s me. I was doing what I did not want to and the good I was trying to do I was not. Cool. So, I kept on reading. Romans 7:17 “So now it is no longer I who do it, but the sin that dwells within me.” So sin dwells in. Wait, now this cannot be me. I was saved. Remember that one night in bed. Oh well guess it can’t be me because I KNOW I am saved and thereby sin cannot dwell there. I once again repeated my words of reassurance to myself that I was saved but the doubt still lingered. Then, I read verse 19 which said the same thing so this must be important. It is in the book more than once. Maybe I am wrong that would explain that longing and weight on my heart. Well, I continued to try to put an end to my sin and continued to fail. All the while the truth of scripture reverberating in my mind. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” I continued on this destructive path if failing and trying to remedy the problem on my own and the weight on my heart grew. While on this path, I ended up working at Falls Creek. I did not anticipate anything great would happen while I was there I just thought it would be a fun summer job. But, God had other plans.

            As a summer staffer at Falls Creek (the Oklahoma Baptist camp ground), I was put into a small group of a few guys. One of whom was the leader. This leader was there to mentor us and help us grow spiritually. When I was put in this group, there were only two things on my mind; I wish this weight on my heart would go away, and I am saved I don’t need to say or do anything. At this point, I clung to my sin and it was killing me I just could not see it. I was unwilling to ask for help. I could not let anyone see how low I had fallen. Once again, I allowed my pride to get in the way of my eternity. All this was unknown to my small group leader and I just told him I wanted to read my Bible more. He liked the idea and offered some good books to read. As I read and discussed them with him, he challenged me to dig in deeper and discuss the truths I found. All this digging was hard. But, through this exploration of His book Christ was working on my heart. He showed me truths and how His book applies to my life and ultimately my need for Him. After weeks of learning and Him breaking down my wall of pride, I was finally ready to make a real change.

            During a Sunday night staff worship session, I was bombarded throughout the service. I may not remember what the speaker was saying or the songs we sung but, they all led me to the same place. Christ reminded me of all the things He had been revealing to me through the past weeks and years and how on my own could never defeat the sin in my life no matter how hard I tried. He also told me that simply being able to recite a story and know all the right answers was not enough to get into Heaven. I still had to come to place where I surrendered my life to Him. I was finally ready to lay down my pride and follow Christ.

After that service I went to my small group leader and told him “I need Jesus.” He did not hesitate and I did not feel that he thought any less of me. We found a seat and sat down. He asked me “what’s up?” and I told him. I told him of the battle I had been waging over the past few years and of the revelation that God had shown me. I no longer saw a need to fight it alone. I had to have Christ in my life. So, I prayed. Unlike last time where I simply recited some words, this time I meant the words I said. I asked the Lord to forgive me for all my foolishness and sin and asked Him to be the Lord of my life. At the end of that prayer my burden was lifted. I felt like a new and freed man. I now knew that I had Jesus in my heart and nothing could change that. When I was asked how I was saved I could now answer with confidence.

Being able to simply give a response to the question of “how did you get saved?” does not make you a Christian. Nor does knowing the answers to all the “churchy” questions. You can tell everyone that you are saved and even convince yourself of the lies you have chosen to tell but, you still need Christ. Until you come to a place where you are willing to give it all to Christ and let Him reign as your savior, the question of “how were you saved” will always be a terrible one. Next time you think about asking someone how they were save, perhaps a better way to start is by asking them if they have ever gave their life to the Lord.

 

© 2014 SF Gallagher

 

 

Dec 032014
 

Worry is a killer! Literally, worry kills. It kills the spirit. It kills relationships. It kills careers. Probably worst, worry kills the body.

I have determined that worry has as at least one if its roots the thought that one could have done something else, perhaps something better. Bundled with this is the belief that this lack of doing whatever is going to be the foundation upon which someone will build a failure or a lifetime of heartache. In other words, we fear the consequences of our actions will not be the good consequences, but the worst possible outcomes our imaginations can conceive. To this end, a bit of oblivion can be our friend.But, it is neither healthy nor wise to live in the land of oblivion. There must be at least some intentionality in every aspect of our lives. A person, by necessity concern himself with the possible outcomes of his actions. Wisdom demands this. However, wisdom also demands that we realize that there are certain things which we are not capable of affecting. We must know that there is a point in time in which we have done all we can do. It is at this that worry becomes that purveyor of depression and ulcers and depression and death and other things that I could not begin to enumerate.

I am neither physician nor psychologist. I am a simple preacher of the gospel. So these words should not be substituted for getting the help that is needed. There are certainly occasions that require some of that professional intervention which God has provided. Here I simply offer some food for thought which may alleviate some of the temptation to be a chronic worrier.

  1. Be prepared (Yes I am in scouting). This is not to assume that we can see into the future and predict every situation. But we do know with certainty that we will face some things. The kids will move out, finances will get tight, disagreements will happen, we will have to let go of some things which are dear. Don’t let these times sneak up and take you by surprise. Make some decisions before the need arises to enact them
  2. Learn your limits. If you can’t fix it, or control it, or affect it in any way, accept it. Why harm yourself for something that you can do nothing about? If you are not an auto mechanic, leave the fixing of the car to them. If it is out of your hands, stop grasping for it. There is something akin to insanity in trying to affect that which you simply can’t.
  3. Trust other people. Don’t be one of those who live by the motto, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Most likely, there will always be someone other than you who can tackle the task. If it is their task, let them do it. Stop hovering over them. Stop second guessing them. They may even be better suited to the task than you. Let them do it.
  4. Trust God. OK – So I am a preacher and to that end let me just let the Bible speak here. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV). Some reading at the end of Matthew 6 would also be beneficial as well. Simply trusting God is a great way to alleviate all that useless worry.
  5. Remember what momma used to say. You know, she wasn’t always right or relevant. But remember what she and others said. Remember the right and keep it spread all over your circumstances. Remember what was not right to avoid out of synch as well. Learn to value what those from your past have to add to keep you out of worry land.
  6. Learn from others. It is not only important to hear what others have said, it is also important to see what they have done. Let’s face it plainly and clearly. People do stupid things that have undesired consequences. Instead of worrying that you will also garner those consequences, learn from them and don’t copy their behavior. But there is another side to that piece of paper. It is the side where people do great things and garner great consequences. Follow on. Learning from others will not guarantee any particular result. But it sure helps.
  7. Be OK with whatever you call failure. Everyone defines failure differently. Whatever you call it, determine that it will be OK if it comes. Some call this defeatism. Others simply know that one can never achieve greatness 100% of the time. Don’t let those times shatter your existence.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.   NKJV

 

© 2014 Dr. SF Gallagher

Nov 132014
 

November 13, 2014

On that Tuesday evening (Oct. 28, 2014)  we summoned the Hospice nurse. His time was close. There was not an overwhelming air of deep sorrow in the house where my mother and I were with a few other family members. We all knew this was the time and he was ready to break through the dark glass to see and know his Lord even as his Lord had known him for 77 years.

About 10 years before, he told me that I was going to preach his funeral and holding his sermon note cards in his hand said “this is what you are going to preach.” I told him something that I seldom ever told him. I told him that I was not going to do that. He just gave me that same look I had seen more often in my lifetime than I care to consider, which said to me the reality was that I was going to preach that sermon at that very time. I still neither wanted to do it, nor think that I could.

As his health declined, I got a bit of an early inheritance. I was given my father’s library. He gave it to me while he was in one of his lucid moments which were becoming Funeral Bible2less frequent. There were still enough of them for him to know that there would be less of them as time went on. He treasured his books and wanted me to use them as did he to prepare for the proclaiming of the best news ever – The news that Jesus Saves. I treasure them as well.

In that stack of stuff that he had been keeping close and not shelved nor boxed was a Bible case with a Bible inside. When I unzipped that small pocket on the front of that case, there it was. The only thing in that pocket was a set of four by six index cards, the kind which he always used for pulpit notes. It was not just a random or recent sermon on that set of cards though. It was the sermon that he told me that I was to preach at his funeral. I was content that I must fulfill this mandate from my father.

That night, to the sound of a CD of him playing hymns on the church organ from a few years earlier, and the muffled sounds of family and friends and a couple of the sweetest caregivers Hospice ever had all half singing and half mumbling the song “When We All Get to Heaven”, my father breathed his last stinky polluted breath on this old earth in his worn and struggling body, and breathed a great big sigh of relief while standing tall and whole, complete in mind and spirit. He entered Heaven. It was a peaceful moment. It was purposeful. It was planned, for “it is appointed unto man once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). On some level that many may not understand, it was even pleasing. On that same level, I find myself a bit jealous.

On October 31, while many others were celebrating demons and death and other dark things, we gathered at the church house and celebrated Heaven and life and the Light of the World, Jesus Christ who had welcomed my father into His Father’s house just a few days earlier. Bro. Jack was remembered by someone from each of the five decades in which he pastored. We sang some of Bro. Jack’s favorite hymns. And Bro. Steve, that’s me, preached one of JFG Obit PicBro. Jack’s sermons.

I know that there is not a shred of Biblical evidence suggesting that he could have been right there with me. I know that he was not and it would be mere selfishness to wish that he were. But, as I said some of his regular phrases and unfolded one of his hand written and personally chosen outlines, I had a clear view, if only in my mind’s eye, of that proud semi-smile which I always saw when he would visit my congregation and hear me  preach what might have also been one of his sermons.

John-F-Gallagher

Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”  1 Kings 13:7 NKJV

© 2014 SF Gallagher

Sep 122014
 

 

 

September 12, 2014

 There are a lot of things going on in my life right now. One of the more significant is that I am part of Flame of Fire Ministry – Malawi.

This year I will be making my third journey to be with these beautiful people and share with them about my Lord Jesus Christ and also about how they can share Him with others.

Last year we saw 7,747 people who heard the good news respond to that message. Since then, there have been literally thousands more who have heard and responded. This work continues because there are men and women of God that are part of this work who carry on when we are at home doing our primary work.

February 2015 is quickly approaching, and we have assembled a team of about a dozen men and women to travel to Malawi and continue this work. The plan consists of five men’s and 5 women’s conferences for training and encouragement. We hope to have our second set of equipment for sharing the Jesus Film by then so we can get into some remote places and share the good news in places where they may have never even heard any hint of this news. We will go places where there are no cars or running water or electricity. But, when we leave, there will be followers of Jesus.

Another nice part this journey is that I will be taking my oldest Daughter along. Bethany has a heart for the mission field and has worked this summer to get her passport and begin her preparation for her first international journey for Jesus. She will be representing the PK’s in the conferences among other duties.

I am asking that you put this mission team on your prayer list. Please ask that God will prepare our minds and guard our health before we go. Pray for our team in Malawi as they begin to prepare the fields for our service. And, pray that those who will hear the Good news of Jesus Christ will respond in repentance and faith.

And, if God should lead you to help us go, please contact me for specifics.

See You SONday,

(c) 2014 SF Gallagher

 

 

 

Aug 282014
 

August 28, 2014

This year I planted a garden – – Well sort of. My whole garden consists of a single seed taken from some produce that we got at the local grocery store. That single seed is in a scoop of dirt I took from the hump where they just planted my new sewer line — Not where the leak was though. That scoop of dirt is in a peanut butter jar and it is sitting on the window sill. Not much of a garden really, but today there are two tiny little sprout leaves that one can almost see without the aid of a magnifying glass.

There is not really much to brag on here, but a seed was planted and germination has taken place, and there is evidence of growth. Tiny as all this is, it still counts. And so does your corner of work for God. It may be tiny and not visible to anyone at all. But, if it shows even the tiniest little microscopic sprout, it counts and so do you.

I really have no idea what will come of that tiny little sprout. I hope it will become a nice colorful vegetable or two. But even if it doesn’t, I have already seen something amazing for the ten minutes effort I put into my garden. And while I have neither intention nor desire to put any more effort into  it, there is the lingering thought which wonders what might have become of just a bit more effort and a little larger peanut butter jar, or if I had told just one more person about Jesus.

See You SONday

 

© 2014 SF Gallagher

Aug 262014
 

Tuesday August 26, 2014

I challenge everyone who has been called out and participated in the ALS challenge, and has sent a donation to continue research, to match their monetary gift with another monetary gift to their local church to be used for sharing about salvation through Jesus. And further, to match the discomfort of the ice bath by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with whomever they feel the most discomfort sharing. No video necessary. No call outs needed. And if you are unsure of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, then your part is to go ask at your local church to explain it to you. After all, the point of the ice bath is understanding.  

If you are unsure how to even begin to ask or share, please click on this link right here and read what it says.  It will tell you how to know Jesus

Jul 062014
 

Sunday July 6, 2014

Several weeks ago, I began to ponder the way we glibly say “God bless America.” I suddenly came aware of the fact that we are more blessed than we deserve. Isn’t that the way God does. But my mind was led to the reality that there must be something else, something better that we should pray. I say it is time for America to bless God, rather than the selfish and continual request for Him to bless us.

America has asked God to stay away from our children in school. We have told children and teachers that it is inappropriate to bring their religion into the classroom or even the lunchroom before the noon meal. We have ignored Him in the history classroom. We have ignored Him in the Social Studies classroom. We have ignored Him in the Health classroom. We have ignored Him quite notably in the science classroom. In the principal’s office and on the sports field, we have asked God to leave. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

America has asked God to step aside while we kill thousands of unborn babies each year. We speak humanitarian reasons; we speak health reasons; we speak comfort and convenience. We speak anything and everything other than Godliness and holiness. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

America has asked God to keep out of our homes. We do not concern ourselves with His word when we are dating. We don’t bother praying as we decide when and whom to marry. We don’t listen when we are raising our children. We throw away Biblical truth because we are too lazy and indifferent to apply it in our very own homes when there isn’t even anyone else looking. Then our marriages fail and we wonder why. Our children grow so indifferent to God that they are not even aware that we have left God out of the picture. There is not so much as a prayer before a meal. There is no reference to God unless we use Him as a threat against our children to make them fear. If anything, God is a crutch that we sit in a corner until we stumble and hurt our feet. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

In our courtrooms, we shake our fists in defiance of the law of God. The very fact that it is in God’s law seems to make it necessary for out civil laws to discount it and deem it inappropriate for consideration. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

Our government seems to have forgotten that it is God who gave us this place where we live. Somewhere in the process of administering the necessities of the people, they have determined that they are the owners of the people rather than the God who created us. They do not care that God has commanded. They believe that it is theirs to make all the rules and it is ours to blindly follow. They claim that now famous misunderstanding of the establishment clause of the United Constitution (the first amendment) claiming the founding document requires that there be no involvement of faith and government, especially when the elected officials want something outside of the written revelation of God. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

Our military chaplains are given instruction to speak softly about Christ. Our soldiers are given instruction to keep their faith to themselves. We send them to fight for those who spit in the face of the one true and living God while proclaiming diversity with the same tongue that we praise the satanic regimes that do not know Him and shun any mention of His name. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

Even our churches have forgotten God. His name has become simply the password for admission into the club with a cross on the top of the building. Godly truth is meaningless. The study of the Bible has been changed to studying about the Bible. Ministers are now hired hands rather than men called of God to be His ministers and church leaders. Times which are meant to be moments of corporate worship have been made into show times with a house full of audience members. We have failed to focus the attention of the worship on the audience of one. We want to feel the music. We want to enjoy the music. We want to perform the music. Much of the music is about men rather than God, and we still call it worship.  The preaching of the Word of God has become a brief moment to make sinners comfortable in their sin rather than experiencing the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We work hard so that there is no chance that anyone can be offended by God’s standards, and treat offence at the identifying of sin as the greatest sin of all. Many times, the group with church, or fellowship, or some other religious sounding word on the sign ignores God altogether. Then we have the nerve to pray for God to bless America. I say it is time for America to bless God.

America, God will be blessed when we read to His word – all of it.

America, God will be blessed when we preach His word – all of it.

America, God will be blessed when we live His word – all of it.

God will be blessed by America when He again becomes the center of our lives.

When our army fights for His cause, He will be blessed.

When our schools promote His greatness, He will be blessed.

When we stand for His people, He will be blessed.

When we oppose sin, He will be blessed.

When we care about lostness more than social ills, He will be blessed.

America, God will be blessed when we return to Him; all of us, to all of Him, for all of time.

God will be blessed when His people, “who are called by His name humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked way” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

And this preacher thinks that we should stop asking God to bless America. He has blessed us over and over again. We have turned on him. I say it is time for America to bless God.

See You SONday

Pastor Steve

(C) SF Gallagher 2014

May 242014
 

 

May 24, 2014

 

I am a veteran of the United States Navy. My service was pretty light in its content. Yes I did go to sea and yes the ship on which I served did have a major fire while I was onboard and yes there were men who died in service while serving at the same time on the same naval vessel. But I was never under fire. I am not sure that my life was ever actually in danger during my service.

CV64CapSo I got to come home and I now enjoy the accolades and benefits of being a veteran. I am proud that I can. But the holiday we recognize this time each year is not about me any more than it is about going to the lake and getting drunk. It is about men like me who went to places and did things that may call them to their death. More so, it is about men who both heard and answered that call. It is about men who stepped out of time and into eternity just at the right moment as to guarantee that those of us who did not take that step may continue to walk in the freedoms that remain for us. We bow on this day giving thanks to them and for their sacrifice. It is good that we remember.

But there is one man who cross3stepped out of eternity and into time. He did so to provide us a freedom that no other soldier could ever even offer. He offers eternal freedom. His name is Jesus. His sacrifice provides assurance of Heaven. Many knees have bowed and many tongues have confessed who He is and what He has done. Many have given thanks to Him for his sacrifice. Have you? It is even better that you remember this.

 

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11NKJV

See You SONday

Pastor Steve

Jan 092014
 

One last thing; while this appears to be directed at career professional ministers, it is not. The well said motto of many churches states “Every Member a Minister.” That means that everyone can do a part of this sharing Jesus thing. When everyone gets involved, the message will be stronger. If the church waits for the few staff members to do all the evangelism, precious little will be done.

 

So you, pew sitter, and you musician, and you usher and you committee member and you, whoever you are, go lead someone to Jesus. At least help them get a bit closer to Him. Then this wonderful world that we live in will be even better.

 

See You SONday

 

…To Be Continued – Or at least it should be – Will it?

© SF Gallagher 2008

Jan 072014
 

It is true that there is a great battle afoot. It is also true that there are many other topics that can be added to the list above. Marriages and families are treated as a throw away commodities or even less. Children are being tossed around as play toys and bargaining tools in these breakups. Generational conquest of the welfare system is becoming a full-time occupation for irresponsible yet able-bodied people who can, but will not work. By others, earning money is deemed more important than raising children. The government is too large and the courts are too powerful. In spite of all that I still repeat, “This world is a wonderful place.”

 

It is also true that the Church must stand and address these situations. We can not overlook that responsibility. And in many ways, churches are addressing these issues. We have social concern committees. We cooperate with law enforcement to catch the bad guys. We provide educational opportunities for addicts and families in trouble. We picket, petition, and pray. While all this is well and good, we have often used them to replace something much more important. If there must be a choice made between any of these things and the thing which I will mention in a moment, we must forgo all the other in order that we may truly address the most important situation.

 

Please remember that the church has the answer to all these problems. Sexuality can once again become a thing of beauty and purity rather than a debased and perverted thing. Drugs can be tools in the physician’s hands rather than a toy in the addict’s hands. The family can be strong and in the home rather than at the gang house. Children can be safe on the playgrounds and in the schools. Babies can be born and raised by their mommies and daddies. Welfare rolls can be shortened. The government and the courts can be brought under control. And the guy in the local paper’s headline will be there for something good rather than an act of unfaithfulness or violence. At least that is the way we dreamers see it.

 

The church has a vital roll here. We have a very large responsibility, because only the Church of the living God has the one answer that will fix all the problems. You see, one thing – and only one thing – will affect each and every one of our social concerns like nothing else can, and the church has the key to that file cabinet.

 

First though, we must stop expecting the baby not to cry. That is what babies do. We have to quit thinking that the dogs won’t bark. That is what they do. Druggies do drugs. Abortionists kill babies. And you can fill in a myriad of others. We need to stop expecting the lost to behave and believe as though they were redeemed. We need to accept them as they are so we can have an inroad to lead them to Jesus rather than building a wall to keep them away.

 

These things tend to bring up a rise of righteous indignation. But we have to learn to see as Jesus sees. He looks beyond the behavior, because He knows that lost people act like lost people. Isn’t that the point? We are so busy trying to remedy the bodies and behaviors of these lost folks, that we have forgotten that our primary task is not social, it is spiritual. The bottom line is that people need Jesus – FIRST! If these lost people have a real experience with the living Savior, their lives and behaviors will be changed and the social ills of our societies will be radically different.

 

If we righteously indignant preachers would quit trying so hard to be transformers of human behavior and get determined to be tellers of the grace of God, lost people would get saved. If lost people get saved, God the Holy Sprit moves in and there is then a new base line for behavior and the greatest transformer of that behavior is now on board. What a difference that would make.

 

Do you want to see the local abortuary closed? Tell the people running the place about Jesus. It is the best shot you have. A saved doctor in the business of healing is better any day than a lost one still plying his murderous trade. Do you want to see the gang-ridden streets cleaned up? Well, don’t go get your gun. That will just put a lost man in Hell. Rather, arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit of the risen Lord and go tell them about Jesus. A saved gang member is better than a dead lost one any day.

 

This preacher truly believes that the answer to the social concerns that are before this culture is not that we become pro-active against all the ills of the activities of lost people. I am not suggesting that we ignore them either. But, if our energies and resources limit us to only one course of action, the best course is that we tell them about Jesus. Jesus will do a much better job of changing those behaviors than anything of which we are capable.

 

What a tragic thing it is to lose our battle in such a useless manner. Satan cannot be allowed to change the battlefield. He must be stopped by any means necessary. There is no time to spare. He lies to others in order to perpetuate his business and line his pockets and he should be exposed for the kind of indecent and horrible being he is. We who are ministers and professors of the grace of Jesus Christ which alone can make a heart clean must do all in our power to stand for God and be His spokesman in this generation of lost people. It is time for the church of the living and true God to stand tall and call from the mountains the truth that will bring these horrible situations to an end. We must call them what they are. We must profess a remedy for the horror. We must tell the truth so loudly and plainly that the lies will have no chance of being heard. We must fight the battle. We must remember that the real need this world has is Jesus. He alone can change the heart and that will take care of the rest.

 

So please, remember that in a world where many things need repair, we must never let the broken shutter or falling fence to take away from the real need that will repair the whole. That fix is Jesus. In His name there will be total transformation. With Him men are new creations. With Him a new man will emerge. With Him eternity will matter more than today. With Him money will mean missions. Without Him nothing will change. So remember, oh please remember, we can let nothing take the place of telling people about Jesus.

 

This world IS a wonderful place. God made it and He is active in it. The more people who recognize God as the supreme everything to this world, the better it will become. Please help this world become an even better place. Go tell someone about Jesus now.

 

See You SONday

 

…To Be Continued

© SF Gallagher 2008

Jan 052014
 

Under violent threats and murderous activities, gangs terrorize whole communities with their violence. Murder for the ability to claim a piece of a citizen’s property as their turf is a regular occurrence. Extortion is a way of life for these human leeches. They mark their bodies and boldly wear their colors. Schools are not safe because of them. Streets are a literal war zone when they are around. An axe handle to the head or a bullet in the gut is their response to a passing glance at the spectacle they have made of themselves.

 

These termites infest their way into anything they can. They would rather steal my car or my other possessions than find a legitimate way to interact with society and earn their own. On top of this, most are collecting public welfare to support their drugs and violence further.

 

Gang members spray their monikers all over anything to which paint will stick and expect that the rest of the community will cower to their claim that this is their place. This in turn costs businesses and communities their hard earned funds to abate their fantasy riddled delusion that they have any real respect from anyone. Since nothing they do accomplishes real respect from anyone that matters, they resort to extortion and tribute gathering coupled with cowardly violence to gain the appearance that in their worthless activities there is anything that merits any consideration of value.

 

These prey on our children and recruit them right from under our collective noses. With promises of anything they can steal and acceptance of all sorts of deviant behaviors, they entice children under the age of ten to commit their murders and terrorist acts. Then, when they have a grip on the child, they promise fates worse than death if they try to get out or reveal any information to anyone outside the “Family” – the gang.

 

What a tragic thing it is to lose our children, property and possessions in such a useless manner. Gangs can not be allowed to reign with their violence and hatred. They must be stopped by any means necessary. There is no time to spare. Those lying to others to perpetuate their business and line their pockets should be exposed for the kind of indecent and horrible people they are. We who are ministers and professors of the grace of Jesus Christ which alone can make a heart clean must do all in our power to stand for God and be His spokesman in this generation of gang infested people. It is time for the church of the living and true God to stand tall and call from the mountains the truth that will bring this horrible situation to an end. We must call it what it is. We must profess a remedy for the horror. We must tell the truth so loudly and plainly that the lies will have no chance of being heard. We must fight the battle.

 

See You SONday

 

…To Be Continued

© SF Gallagher 2008

Jan 032014
 

Drugs are a major blight on this society. Illicit transactions take place thousands of times daily in probably every city and town in the United States. Children are being given these doses often before they even learn to read (and often, as a result never learn). From a young age, addictions are formed and lives are ruined before they really begin.

 

Illegal drugs are not the only abused drugs. Prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications are also abused. There are improper addictions to these as well. While it must be noted that there are proper uses of these medications, often they are used in a manner just as dangerous and damaging as street drugs. Drugs are used as a substitute for learning to deal with the pressures of life. Drugs are used to escape unwanted realities. Drugs are used for a recreational “feel good” or an aide for boldness to do something – usually something clearly against God.

 

Regular houses in regular neighborhoods are turned into unsafe laboratories which explode and kill. Before they explode innumerable doses of mind and life-altering garbage is shoveled right out the front door. Young women turn to prostitution to support their addiction. Children are being used as delivery trucks for the dealers. Jails and courtrooms are jammed with the residue of this modern plague. Millions of dollars are spent on interdiction and surveillance attempting to stop the trafficking. Law enforcement officials are killed. Families are broken. Children are thrown away. Public safety is eroded. It has to stop.

 

Those who push such as this must be put in a position of accountability for their wrong. They must face the judge and hear the sentence pronounced – which may bring us to another issue to address. Here the church must stand. This ungodly activity has to be exposed. We have no choice except to expose the lie that there is anything of worth or value in the illicit use of drugs. It must be called sin, and the wrath of God must be pronounced.

 

There is no time to spare. Those lying to others to perpetuate their business and line their pockets should be exposed for the kind of indecent and horrible people they are. We who are ministers and professors of the grace of Jesus Christ which alone can make a heart clean must do all in our power to stand for God and be His spokesman in this generation of drug addicted people. It is time for the church of the living and true God to stand tall and call from the mountains the truth that will bring this horrible situation to an end. We must call it what it is. We must profess a remedy for the horror. We must tell the truth so loudly and plainly that the lies will have no chance of being heard. We must fight the battle.

 

See You SONday

 

…To Be Continued

© SF Gallagher 2008