Cultural Glimpse

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Tag: Pastor Aaron

God is the Recipe

God

“God is not an ingredient in your life,” said Pastor Aaron. “He is the recipe.”

Pastor Aaron talked about how people love God and get spiritual when life is rough and they’re having problems. But during good times, they forget about God. God gets put on the wayside.

“If you want to add God into your life, you have to subtract something from it,” he said. “In order to bring God into my life I have to remove what’s offensive to him.”

He took a glass of water and poured it into a full pitcher of water.

“We overflow the boundaries of life, and everything spills over and becomes saturated by what we add,” he said. “We end up making a mess.”

The pastor implored us not to waste time on this earth by waiting for something to happen. He also talked about the importance of prayer without ceasing, which means a continuous attitude and communication with God without being unproductive.

“Oftentimes we look at the enemy and say [confrontationally] let’s go,” he said. “We should focus on God rather than the enemy.”

To do that, he prays, “God, you got a problem here (whether in the church, the community, the neighborhood). How do You want me to help?”

“That prayer keeps your eyes on God and not on yourself,” He said.

I thought, it will also help us clean the mess we’ve made on this earth and replace it with a beautiful and delicious Recipe.

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Choosing Faithfulness

Pastor Aaron (2)

Pastor Aaron read from 1 Samuel 2:12

“Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot.”

He stopped and said, as if to himself, “It’s always dangerous to talk about food, especially when it’s barbecue, especially during second service.”

The congregation laughed.

Being light-hearted and down-to-earth makes it so much easier to feel God’s message. This is what happens every Sunday at Freedom Christian, where the pastor incorporates the bible’s teachings into his everyday family life. He turns the act of helping a man shovel his snow into a thoughtful and humorous story. The man whom he helped thanked him and asked, “Where do you work?”

“I’m a pastor.”

“Oh, you’re a man of God.”

“A title does not make me a man of God,” said the pastor. “You should know me for a few years and decide whether or not I am a man of God.”

He added that some Christian colleges are worse than regular colleges. They have the same ungodliness but they are wrapped up with religious terms.

The sermon’s topic was not religious terms, but it was about Samuel proving that we can be faithful in an unfaithful environment.

“You choose faithfulness and you choose unfaithfulness and then faithfulness and unfaithfulness chooses you,” he said. “I will take a faithful person in my life more than someone who is talented or someone who is flashy. Faithfulness means being faithful again and again and again. It’s being faithful in your life from the east of your life to the west of your life, from the north of your life to the south of your life.”

The pastor’s last words during today’s sermon were “Examine one area in your life where you can be faithful and work all week to make it a strength.”

 

Dealing with Christmas Crazies

Pastor Aaron2

I am grateful to have a large loving tribe that consists of 11 siblings, at least 33 nieces and nephews, and at least 10 great nieces and nephews (sorry, I’ve lost count). That’s not counting in-laws, aunts, uncles, and first cousins that all live in our vicinity. Being surrounded by this many family members is great, but it also means dealing with so many difficult people that at times, you feel entitled to an honorary doctorate degree in psychology.

Then during Sunday’s Morning Worship, Pastor Aaron talked about how to handle, in a biblical way, the Christmas Crazies who drive us insane. His sermon helped put things into perspective.

“My father used to always say ‘Hurt people hurt people,’” said Pastor Aaron. “Most people who are difficult are either wounded, fearful, are in physical or emotional pain, self-protecting, worried, or spiritually dying or dead.”

These difficult people usually fall into the following categories:

  1. Dishonest People – they devalue people for their own gain
  2. Demanding People (parents excluded, but please avoid dictatorship style parenting at home)
  3. Deadly People – they love to kill through emotional and spiritual complaints, argument, creating as much conflict as possible, causing pain to others. These are people who love to throw emotional damage to others, even through social media.
  4. Defensive People – They struggle when confronted about themselves. They don’t listen. They just get angry.

So how do you handle people who are either dishonest, demanding, deadly, or defensive? Using biblical verses, Pastor Aaron explained:

1.Realize you can’t get along with everyone.

“You live in a mental prison when you work very hard to please people,” he said. “I realized long ago that I can’t make everyone like me. Once I stopped trying to be everyone’s best friend, I started making better decisions for myself. You are responsible for your life.”

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.    Romans 12:8

 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.    Proverbs 29:25

2. Refuse to give into payback mentality

Do not repay evil with evil or insult on insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessings, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

3. Respond with Love and Concern

Even if we decide to never be in contact with someone again, because of how hurtful they once were or can continue to be, we must realize two things: 1) God loves these people; 2) God does not love you more than he loves them. He might not love their behavior, but He loves them.

“God does not intend for us to be a doormat or to be a wimp, but when you focus on something long enough – angry prayers or retaliation, for instance – you become it,” said the Pastor.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.   – 2 Timothy 1:7

“My mother always said, ‘When you live your life in the right way, in the end even your enemies will want to make peace with you,” he said.

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Proverbs 16:7

“So let’s live up to the calling God gave us and respond to difficult people the way Jesus would have,” said the Pastor at the end of the sermon, preparing us for a lovely holiday season with our families – we pray.

 

 

 

 

 

In Honor of International Peace Day

International Peace Day

“We invest in chaos because chaos is more profitable than peace,” said Greek composer Vangelis.

Hmmm, everything is making sense now. Luckily, there are many people around the world who opt for peace over profit. Today at church, for instance, the Pastor talked about The Book of Ruth, and how in several chapters of the book, everyone is looking for the best interest of everyone else.

“This is remarkable, and it’s very rare,” said Pastor Aaron. “What would happen if we all lived like Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz? What if as a family we all look for the best interest of each other, beyond the pain? What if as a church we look out for other churches and their pastors and their congregations? When people walk around thinking only of themselves, it becomes a toxic environment for other people.”

He added, “When I go into a season of discouragement, I get out and start thinking of someone outside of me. This is when I begin to get healthier.”

Are you up for a healthier spirit?

How Are You Doing on Your Journey?

dreams

“Dreams are a big part of our everyday life,” said Pastor Aaron during Sunday’s sermon at Freedom Christian. “Looking at the history of the church, I see that wherever the biggest dreamers and most creative people were, who continue to have God’s dreams birthed in their hearts and live them out, that’s where God moved the most.”

The remainder of his sermon, which is part of a 12 week series titled The Mission, was just as powerful and inspiring as he noted, “I think one of the dangers of Christian faith is simply this in America: We stopped dreaming yet we serve the greatest Dreamer of all time.”

He said that we as Christians submit to God’s sovereignty and use it as an excuse for our apathy, adding, “In America, we might not be faithful to God but God is still faithful to us and then we take his faithfulness and say, see, God must be pleased with my unfaithfulness because He’s still faithful to me when I’m unfaithful to Him.”

He paused along the way and asked, “How are you doing on your journey? What might God be challenging you to change about your attitude, your heart, your nature, maybe those dark places?”

It is answering such questions that helps one grow spiritually and feel a special closeness to God, but only if we ask them of ourselves regularly, not forget them at the church altar.

Nineveh is Like Any Major City in the U.S.

Nineveh

“Nineveh is like any major city in the U.S.,” said Pastor Aaron at today’s sermon.

Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River. It is one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. The area was settled as early as 6000 BC and by 3000 BC had become an important religious center for worship of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar.

“Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was the superpower of her day,” said the Pastor. “It required three days to circle metropolitan Nineveh. And the Ninevites lived large. They enjoyed the best chariots, the finest food, and the most exotic entertainment. It had an extensive business and commercial system like none in the world. In addition, Assyria had ruled the world for 200 years and was the strongest military power. Sounds familiar?”

He added that Nineveh’s wickedness was great, and unbeknownst to them, their days were numbered. It would not be long before Babylon would overtake Nineveh. God gave them one last chance to repent, however, by sending Jonah. After Jonah’s sermon to them, the entire city turned from their sin of violence, which they were known for, and turned to God. (Jonah 4:4 NLT)

“Shouldn’t we be concerned with Sterling Heights, with that great city and its surrounding cities?” asked the Pastor.

The message is clear, and it resembles the heart of Cultural Glimpse. Wherever we are we are on holy ground. It is wonderful to recognize, honor and serve the sacredness of our homes and communities.

Professional Runners

Woman who knows all about patience

woman who knows all about patience

Today Pastor Aaron talked about impatience and how people tend to satisfy their immediate desires rather than wait for the fruition of what is important to them.

“We find ourselves waiting for the economy to change, waiting to have a baby, waiting to find the right job, and when it doesn’t happen when we want it to happen, we get sick of waiting and we come up with an alternative plan,” he said. “Big mistake!”

He gave the example of Abraham and Sarah. After ten years of not being able to get pregnant, Sarah suggested to Abraham that he sleep with her maidservant Hagar and build a family through her. This caused a whole lot of problems.

“Then when our alternative plan does not work, we run away from the problem we’ve created for ourselves,” he said. “We are great in America for being professional runners. We run away from our marriages, we run away from our parents, we run away from our responsibilities.”

Food, Prayer, Marriage

Wedding rings

Ever since snow arrived, my children wanted to build a snowman. So Sunday we gave them a substitute snow activity – sledding. Needless to say they had a great time. Myself, who as a young girl rode roller coasters at Cedar Point, simply videotaped their adventure. Yes, I was too scared to slide down the hill that my three-year-old and six-year-old thought nothing of.

Yesterday was so packed with activities there was no way I could write a new post at night. We bought the children snow gear, took them sledding with their cousins, I discovered black tomatoes at the produce market and we attended a small 500 guest Chaldean American wedding (usually they’re 700 plus). And most importantly, church!

“The Life of Abraham” lecture series started at Freedom Christian. As the pastor spoke of Prophet Abraham, I thought of my ancestors’ land, Ur of the Chaldees in Iraq, where Abraham originated. This city, which is mentioned several times in the Bible was one of the great urban centers of the Sumerian civilization of southern Iraq and remained an important city until its conquest by Alexander the Great a few centuries before Christ. Ur was eventually incorporated into Babylonia. The Ziggurat of Ur, believed to be 4,000 years old and originally a temple to the moon god, has become a symbol of honor for Iraqi ingenuity and culture, as well as being the birth place of the prophet Abraham.

During the lecture, the pastor said something very important about marriage.

“Your marriage is not your true identity. It is not the job or your wife or your husband to make you happy, not that they should attempt to do otherwise. Your hope of who you are should be based on your relationship with God.”

I agree. Many marriages fail today because a lot of pressure is placed on what spouses should do and not do for each other. In the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts plays a married woman who is not happy in her marriage. She wants a divorce to go out and find herself but her husband desperately does not want the divorce. He asks her, “Why can’t you find yourself inside our marriage?”

She could have.

“Enjoy your vacations,” said the pastor. “Enjoy your relationships, enjoy your work, but don’t make them the source of our joy or your status. God is the source.”