Josh Steed's Blog
Author of "Faith & Football"

Jun
10

I copied this article from an email that a good friend of mine sent to me. It deals with the part of the Bible where Jesus is about to ascend back to heaven after he had been raised from the dead. These final words of Jesus to us is commonly refered to as “The Great Commission”. This commission is found in Mathew 28:18-20. These instructions are to be the main focus of the “Church” and all “Christians”…I recently preached a sermon that presented this passage of scripture and asked the question, “Are we failing?”. Read this and you decide…

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples…”
 
Part of the reason for this ministry is to follow the great commission and make disciples.  What are disciples?  Here are a couple of writings I have come across that help us see just what a disciple is all about.
 
I am a disciple of Christ
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure
I am finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, chancy giving and dwarfed goals
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions or popularity
I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded
My face is set, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow and my way is rough but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed and I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy or meander in the maze of mediocrity
and I want give up, shut up, let up or slow up till I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up and stayed up for the cause of Christ I’m a disciple of Christ and I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till everybody knows and work till He stops and when He comes to claim His own He will have no trouble recognizing me for my colors are clear.  That’s what a Disciple is.
 
Today I am stepping across the line. I’m tired of waffling, and I’m finished with wavering. I’ve made my choice; the verdict is in; and my decision is irrevocable. I’m going God’s way. There’s no turning back now!
I will live the rest of my life serving God’s purposes with God’s people on God’s planet for God’s glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word.
Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying.
Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.
Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, “we” over “me,” character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most, and I’ll give it all I’ve got. I’ll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.
I won’t be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I’ll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me.
When times get tough, and I get tired, I won’t back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I’ll just keep moving forward by God’s grace. I’m Spirit-led, purpose-driven and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.
I’m a trophy of God’s amazing grace, so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for everyday, and generous with everything that God entrusts to me.
To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost, I’m ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyway.  Whatever it takes Lord; whatever it takes!
I want to be used by you in such a way, that on that final day I’ll hear you say, “Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!”  What does this mean?  Today, I affirm this commitment to God and submit to his plans and purposes for my life, no matter what it takes.
]
John 8:31 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.”
John 15:8  “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
John 13:35  “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
 
Being a disciple of Christ is about fellowship with Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple of Christ is about commitment to Jesus Christ.  Being a disciple of Christ is about knowing Jesus intimately and following Him wherever He leads.

Are you a disciple of Christ?

Advertisements
May
19

I decided on the title for this post after receiving a message from a young man I have grown to love and respect over the short time I have been blessed to get to know him. The young man I am referring to is Seth Barron. He is a 16-year-old from Camden, AR, and he attends high school at Smackover High School. He is the owner/operator of “Seth’s Snow To Go”…a snow cone stand in Camden. I met Seth a couple of years ago while shopping at his snow cone stand. I remember asking him who owned the stand while he was busy serving me up a Blue Coconut snow cone.  He politely told me that he was the owner and just kept on working on my order and making conversation. I was very impressed by his manners and the degree of professionalism he displayed, especially since he was barely a teenager at the time! Well…here we are a few years, and several tasty snow cones later, and Seth is still in business and doing great! He recently came to my barber shop on Cash rd. in Camden and asked me if I would be willing to let him rent a space on my parking lot to put up his snow cone stand. We both agreed that it would be a good idea and now I can just walk outside and get snow cones anytime I get the urge!

 I have been so blessed to be around Seth the past few weeks and I can’t begin to tell everyone how proud I am to know him. He is not only a good businessman but very intelligent too. He recently had to write a paper for school and he chose to write about our nation and what he believes needs to be done in America to help us get back on the right track. Seth sent a rough draft of his paper to me via Facebook and I was very impressed with this young man of God. I asked him for permission to post a portion of his report on this blog and he said that would be fine. I hope you enjoy reading what this young man has so boldly declared. I would also like to ask you to help me direct as many people to this blog as possible because I think this message is worth sharing with others! If more young people, and adults, would let this message sink into their hearts…America could still have hope. Thank you Seth for being such an American patriot and for taking a bold stance for Christ. I know that it can be extremely hard to do what you do in the world that you teenagers live in but God will reward you for your faithfulness! 

“Separation of Church and State”

By: Seth Barron

I believe America is on a road to destruction and we need to get back to the Christian roots of our founding fathers. Separation of church and state is usually a misinterpreted statement that has been taken way out of context. That statement was not meant to keep religion out of government and government institutions, it was meant to keep the government from running the church. Many people have heard the famous statement “Separation of church and state,” but few have heard and understood the full statement.

January 1, 1802 Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, said “The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.” U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, said “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” This shows that Christianity was intended to always be in government, according to our founders.
The definition of unconstitutional is, “Not in accord with the principles set forth in the constitution of a nation or state.” So what does it mean when the Court declares something to be unconstitutional? It means that the Founding Fathers would have opposed it and would not have wanted it.

 James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution said “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” So how can anybody say that religion in the government, school, or anywhere else is unconstitutional?

I have noticed that if something is said often enough for long enough, it will be believed to be true. Some people have said that religion in government and government institutions is unconstitutional so many times that many people have started to believe them. This it totally backwards!

 Patrick Henry said ” It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, who was a profound atheist, said after he visited America in 1831 “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests–and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning–and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution–and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!” He also says “There is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”


The Bible says that a nation that turns away from God will lose His blessings and reap the consequences. If even an atheist can see that  America is great due to the people of the nation following Christ and the Bible, why are we turning away? My biggest concern for our nation is the question I often ponder: “If we continue to allow ourselves to separate church and state what will happen to our country?”

May
04

Hey everyone…sorry it took so long to post this blog but my life has been so busy lately I haven’t had time to write on my blog.  Please continue to pray for my family and my ministry as we travel and I speak across the state and nation. Thanks and don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you need prayer or have any questions you want answered.

This blog is not my opinion on America’s roots but actual statements that most of us don’t know about our nation and it’s rich Christian heritage. I want you to read these and think about why this is kept from kids in public schools today. The Bible says that  a nation that turns away from God will lose His blessings and reap the consequences. America is on a road to destruction and we need to get back to the founders’ views and principles or we are doomed. (Now that IS my opinion)….I hope you enjoy the quotes below and if you know anyone who would need to read these…please direct them to www.read4god.com and help me to get the word out before it is too late! God bless you and God bless America!!!

The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government. 

Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States January 1, 1802 in an address to the Danbury Baptists. 

Had the people, during the Revolution, had any suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle…At the time of the adoption of the constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect…in this age there can be no substitute for Christianity…That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendents…the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

House Judiciary Committee Report, March 27, 1854 after a one year study brought about by a suit to force the separation of church and state. 

Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind…It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in the sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian. 

Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892. The Court cited 87 precedents. 

Do not let anyone claim the tribute of American patriotism if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics. 

George Washington from his Farewell Address to the Nation. 

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. 

John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of Supreme Court: One of the three men most responsible for the Constitution. 

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. 

John Quincy Adams. 

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Patrick Henry. 

Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, has attributed the fall of the Empire to: 

1. The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
5. The decay of religion–faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people. 

Edward Gibbon. 

What does it mean when the Court declares something to be unconstitutional? It means that the Founding Fathers would have opposed this, would not have wanted this. As in the following: 

We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. 

James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution. 

The reason that Christianity is the best friend of government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart. 

Thomas Jefferson. 

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people…it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. 

John Adams. 

Everyone appointed to public office must say: “I do profess faith in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost…one God and blessed forevermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration. 

Delaware Constitution, 1776 (consistent with the First Amendment). 

French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests–and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning–and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution–and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!” 

Alexis de Tocqueville. 

Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. 

George Washington. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar
25

I learned a valuable lesson from a rock-peck in my windshield that ended up being a huge crack and I wanted to share it with you. Here is how it all began…As I was driving down the highway a month or so back I met a large 18-wheeled log truck. As we passed each other going opposite directions I heard a loud smack hit my windshield. I had heard that sound before and I knew that I had just received a good ole fashioned rock-peck in my front windshield. I looked and looked as I kept driving down highway 7 but I couldn’t find the place where the rock had struck. After several miles of driving and looking for it I finally ignored the obvious and decided that the rock that struck my windshield wasn’t as bad as I thought it was and I concluded that I had not sustained any damage from the incident.

As the weeks went by I had completely put the rock incident out of my mind when I looked above my rearview mirror through the large letters that reads, http://www.read4god.com , on the upper portion of my Avalanche’s front windshield. I thought I noticed a line running through a small opening that I could see in a gap between the rearview mirror and one of the letters on the outside of the windshield. I chose to ignore it and just put it out of my mind. A week or two later one of my kids was “riding shotgun” in the passenger seat of my ride when he asked me what had happened to my windshield. I asked him what he was talking about and he said that there was a small crack in it. I leaned over a little bit and didn’t see anything and I told him that it was nothing to worry about. He had a bit of a confused look on his face but he finally shrugged his shoulders and forgot about it.

The comment he made about the crack weighed on my mind and I thought that I might need to take my Avalanche to the glass shop to get the crack repaired before it spread but when I glanced over towards the spot that was damaged, I didn’t see that the crack was that bad. I knew that it should be addressed but I did not want to have to stop my busy life to deal with such a small thing and I didn’t see that it was that bad anyway.

About a week later my wife was in the passenger seat of my ride when she asked me the same thing my son had asked before, “What happened to your windshield?” I again told her that it was nothing and she quickly replied by telling me that it was a pretty big crack. I did not want to listen to her but I leaned over and looked behind the rearview mirror and saw a crack running down behind the mirror and over at an angle and it was over a foot long! The crack was in just exactly the right spot to be hidden from me in the drivers’ seat. It ran down and then turned and went straight away from me in the driver’s seat running along the length of the horizontal mirror. I knew when I saw the scale of the damage that my buddies at Ace Trim Shop would not likely be able to stop the crack from running but I went ahead and had them try to repair it. They agreed that it would not likely be fixable but they would try to drill it and put the clear solution into it that stops rock-pecks from running.

Well, here we are a week later and the rock peck that lead to the small crack has now ran across about 1/2 of the passenger side of the front windshield. The trim shop’s effort to stop the crack failed, just like they told me. I ignored the evidence that the problem existed, I denied it when others tried to point it out, and I waited too long to stop it from spreading. I will have to get a new windshield in the future just because of my own unwillingness to nip the problem in the bud.

This windshield peck turned bad has really taught me a lesson about life: When we have clear signs that a potential problem is developing, we need to address the issue and handle it immediately. I heard the rock hit and knew that I had to have some damage as a result but I did not thoroughly look for the problem. Is that not how most of us do with signs of problems in our own lives? We often get a sign, a signal that something is not quite right but we just keep on driving down the road of life. God will sometimes try to get our attention with something and He does but we won’t slow down enough to get the good out of it. We often just turn the radio up a little louder in an attempt to block His voice out and then we keep driving in directions that He may not want us to go in. I just wonder how many marriages would have not ended in divorce as a result of adultery if the cheating spouse would have listened to the Lord when at the first sign of a problem? Sins like adultery, addictions, and bad habits don’t just happen in an instant. They are just like the huge crack on my windshield! Something as small and insignificant looking as a tiny rock-peck can ruin the entire front windshield of a 1/2 ton SUV if no action is taken. Likewise, when you and I who are followers of Christ decide to ignore the first signs of a potential problem in life…we can allow sin to grow and destroy something that will cost us dearly.

It is also worth noting that even though we might try to ignore our problems or fake ourselves out about them…others who are close to us can see exactly whats going on. Although the crack in the glass was partially hidden from my line of sight from the drivers’ seat of my truck, I should have taken time to stop everything and investigate the issue thoroughly. Like I said before, I KNEW that I had heard that sound before and that I had to have damage somewhere on that windshield but I chose to put it out of my mind. A rock-peck that would have cost me about $5.00 to repair will end up costing me hundreds of dollars! Likewise, when someone close to us loves us enough to ask us about a problem they see in our lives, we need to really listen and do something about it. The last things we should do is to ignore them or blow them off like they don’t know what they are talking about. We are often blinded by something right before our eyes if we ignore the initial signs of a problem or sin in our lives. If I had just got out of the drivers’ seat and chose to take a look at the windshield from the passengers’ perspective, I would have been able to see the peck and could have stopped it before it ever grew into a huge crack in my windshield. Sometimes we need to do the same thing in life. We need to stop speeding through life focusing on things that really don’t even matter in the long run and take time to stop and really look at what issues need to be addressed right in front of us. I think that God often has something good to tell us or show us and we miss it because we are too busy trying to get our things ready for a hunting or fishing trip. Or perhaps its something as simple as watching our favorite TV show that causes us to miss something God wants to show us. God will often put up warning signs for us long before the problem is at its climax but we must be willing to cultivate a close relationship with Him, on HIS terms! That means we need to read and study His Word and then let it direct our decisions. Too many people live lives that totally contradict what God has stated in His Word and when confronted about it they claim that “God understands, I got it worked out with Him and no one can judge me!”. Well, as noble as that may sound, if you or I think that we can have habits, hobbies, or attitudes that God declares to be sinful in the Bible, and yet act like He is “cool” with them…we have another thing coming! God has no favorites who can get away with sin. If God says that sex outside of marriage is wrong and that those who are guilty of this sin called “sexual immorality, or fornication” will be punished, don’t fool yourself into thinking that He understands your situation. We would all do good to read passages like 1st Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:4-7, Rev. 21:8 & 22:15. All these verses tell us clearly tell us that God does not take sin lightly and if we claim to belong to Jesus, we must turn away from a lifestyle of living like those who don’t know God. We are to be different because if we are truly saved, we are new people! We have God’s Spirit inside us giving us new desires to obey God and a hunger for His Word. We will still mess up and find ourselves tempted in every way but when we fall, we get back up and we keep on moving forward. God loves us too much to allow us to keep on living in sin after we have given our lives to Him. He will give us warning signs and even correct us sometimes with divine discipline to stop us from destroying ourselves and bringing shame on His name. God love us too much to allow His children to live in deliberate sin.

Too many of us Christians have rock-pecks in our windshield that need to be fixed before they spread out and cause much damage. Many of us have cracks in the glass right before our eyes that our loved ones see and try to point out for us but we keep denying it. Others have huge cracks that are spreading all across the windshield right before our eyes and we feel like all hope is gone. Just remember…God can handle the mess you’ve made, He will take that cracked windshield and completely replace it if we will only slow down and let Him have complete control of the vehicle. He created you and He loves you. He knows what you need, how you feel, and He understands you better than you understand yourself! Why in the world would we chose to fight against Him when He has our best life tucked away in His will? I can’t answer that for everyone but most people in this world spend their lives actively pursuing happiness, fulfilment, peace, love, and purpose, when the answer is all around them the entire time.

I learned a valuablenlesson from the crack in my windshield and  I hope you did too.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to tell your friends and loved ones about www.read4god.com and to get a signed copy of my book, Faith & Football, if you haven’t done so already. Just email me if you want a signed copy and if you know someone who would read it but who doesn’t have the money to buy one, please let me know and I will pay for it and send it to them myself.

God bless you and I hope to meet with you again on the next blog!              

In Jesus,                                                                                                                                                                                     

Josh Steed

Mar
25

YouTube – MrJoshSteed’s Channel.

Mar
04

In the last two blogs I posted I addressed the issue of appropriate clothing for attending a church service and also shared my opinion on the matter but on this blog I just wanted to share some scriptures with everyone to clarify some aspects of this issue. I don’t think my opinion or yours really matters anyway unless it is in step with the Word of God anyway. I am posting these passages of scripture out of the New Living Translation, the translation I personally read during my time spent with the Lord. I like this translation for daily reading because it is clear and easy to understand and it is written in modern-day English on a 5th grade reading level. There are many more passages that could be brought into this discussion that agree with these but I thought this was enough.

 The scriptures I have chosen to post here are ones that I think we should read and pray about and consider what God is saying to us through them. God does not judge man by his outward appearance, especially if man is trying to dress up to be someone he is not. God is not impressed by our outward appearance and God sees us at all times. This means He sees us when we are naked or when we are using the bathroom etc. Our Sunday dress doesn’t bring Him any honor if we are not honoring Him with the rest of our lives. Basically, if a person dresses up on Sunday to honor God and the same person is honoring God with the way they live, God is pleased with that person. If another person doesn’t feel as if he must dress up to honor God at a church meeting and this person honors God and obeys Him with his life, God is pleased with this person too. God is looking at the heart! He wants us to love Him and to obey Him with our lives. As long as we are not doing things contrary to His Word, He leaves it up to each individual to decide what he or she needs to wear on the outside. Remember…I am not condoning a person who is dressing in an immodest manner but rather a person who doesn’t dress up as nice as some people do to go to a church service. Dressing up is a man-made tradition that doesn’t mean anything to God unless our hearts are in the right place too.

God looks at the heart but He also gives specific instructions to us about NOT dressing in an immodest manner. No Christian man or woman is ever supposed to dress in clothing that is “sexy” or anything that is to bring them sexual attention in public. Tight jeans, low-cut neck lines with cleavage showing, short skirts/shorts, skimpy swimwear, etc. are in style with the fashion of our modern-day culture but is still considered sin to God. We are not to conform with the worlds way of looking and acting if the Bible speaks directly against what the world is doing. The problem today is that the world is having more of an impact on the church than the church is having an impact on the world. We have become so much like the world that the world can’t see a need for Jesus. The world wonders why we waste our time on Sundays and Wednesdays at church when the faith that we profess has minimal effect on our daily lives. We need to wake up! If we are truly saved, we must display a new nature that comes from the inside and works its way out into every aspect of our lives. I think that many of us who attend church regularly are way too focused on dressing up on Sunday morning when we should be more concerned about living a holy life all week-long, regardless of the outward appearance. Here are the scriptures I chose to address these issues. God’s Word can say it better than me anyway so here it is:

1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-8 (in Context) 1 Samuel 16 (Whole Chapter)

  • Job 28:24
    for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens.
  • Job 28:23-25 (in Context) Job 28 (Whole Chapter)
  • Psalm 14:2
    The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race;he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,if anyone seeks God.
    Psalm 14:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 14 (Whole Chapter)

  • Psalm 33:13
    The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.
    Psalm 33:12-14 (in Context) Psalm 33 (Whole Chapter)
  • Psalm 53:2
    God looks down from heaven on the entire human race;he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,if anyone seeks God.
    Psalm 53:1-3 (in Context) Psalm 53 (Whole Chapter)

    Matthew 23:27-28 (New Living Translation) 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    James 2:1-4 (New Living Translation) 1 My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[a] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

    1 Peter 3:3-5 (New Living Translation) 3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 5 This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. 

  •  Timothy 2:9-10 (New Living Translation) 9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance.[a] They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your hearts with me. God bless you and tell your loved ones about www.read4god.com if you think they would benefit from it too.

  • Feb
    09

    I have gotten a ton of feedback on the last blog entry and I humbly appreciate all the opinions that have been presented. The overwhelming response to the blog on my website and my Facebook page has been the same. Most people agree that people should not judge others for not dressing up to come to church. I have had a couple people disagree with me on the topic and they have politely and honestly shared their reasoning and I really appreciate hearing both sides of the issue. This is the 2nd part of a 3 part blog on this topic and I am going to share my opinion on the topic on this one and focus on what the Bible has to say in the 3rd and last post on this issue.

    After carefully reviewing  both sides of this argument and praying about it I would have to say that I don’t agree with those who make the point that everyone should dress in their best clothes on Sunday mornings for church. Some of the reasons I have heard have been as follows:  “If you were going to meet the president (or another person of high office or honor) how would you dress?”   My response: I don’t know what I would wear to meet the president or any other human but we are not talking about a formal meeting with another man. We are talking about gathering together on a Sunday morning for a worship service of the one true God, who does not dwell in church buildings but inside Christians. I carry God with me to church because the Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit is God and that He lives inside me and all Christians. God is with me when I have on jeans at church just as much as when I have on a suit and tie. God is with me when I am getting dressed, or undressed for that matter. God Almighty (The King of Kings) is with me when I use the bathroom or take a shower. I am not being disrespectful to Him by what I wear on Sunday mornings because He is focused on my heart more than my clothing. The only exception to this that I can see is found in the Bible when Christians are instructed to dress modestly. Now that is something worth discussing. More people would frown on a teenage girl wearing modest jeans and a t-shirt during a Sunday morning  service than another girl dressed in nice clothes that are immodest. I have seen many young women dressed in clothing that is very revealing, to say the least, at church and I have rarely heard anyone comment on this. Dressing immodest is wrong because the Bible says so, not because I say so or any man made tradition says so. Not only should we not wear something immodest to church but we shouldn’t ever wear skimpy shorts, low-cut tops, etc. if we are Christians. That is not my opinion, but God’s Word. Yet people don’t say much, if anything,  about tight clothing or sexy dresses at church but they are quick to turn their nose up at you for not wearing your “Sunday’s best”. Something is backwards here.

    The second thing I have heard is this, “Dressing in your nicest clothes on Sunday morning is done to show honor for God.” My response is this:  If we are dressing in our Sunday best to show God honor, why does everyone usually dress way more casual on Sunday evening for church? Even the pastor takes the suit and tie off on Sunday nights. Is God not to be honored as much on Sunday nights, or Wednesday nights? What about the rest of the week? Should we not always wear the nicest clothes we have if we are indeed doing it for God? I see a problem that doesn’t make sense when you really think about it. Not to mention my first point that God is not at the church anyway…He is inside us! We are the church, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    The last thing I want to remind everyone about is the fact that God becomes our “Heavenly Father” when we get saved. We become His children when we surrender our lives to Christ. That being said, if my dad called me and wanted to meet with me for lunch or to spend some time hanging out with the rest of the kids in my family, I would not put on a suit and tie or slacks. I would wear whatever I had on. In fact, my dad would wonder what was wrong with me if I showed up dressed in my finest clothes just to spend some time with him and the rest of his children. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect my dad just because I don’t wear my finest clothes to meet with him and the rest of his kids does it? NO! The same is true for our Daddy in heaven. He isn’t worried about how fancy your clothing is, He already sees you in the shower and knows your every thought! He could care less that you put on a nice outfit to meet up at church with everyone else if you are doing it just because that is whats expected of you on Sunday morning. Then you claim that you are dressing up to show Him honor and respect. Later that evening you casual up and join the same people at the same church and don’t even think about the “dress code” you had for the a.m. service.

    I don’t think it makes any sense but it is just a tradition that has been around for years to dress up on Sunday mornings. I don’t have a problem with anyone dressing up for church if that is their way of honoring God but it should not be applied to everyone else. It is a matter of personal conviction and it is pushing people away from churches. If one person can dress up and honor God then I say “Amen!”, but if another man is much more casual and he can honor God with his life, I am all for him too! I have been to several churches and as a rule of thumb I will have to say that the churches that don’t put so much emphasis on the “Sunday best” dress code are much more warm and welcome. The people seem to love others and the Lord more too. The churches I have been to that really dress up on Sunday mornings have seemed much more cold and traditional. By traditional I mean “religious” not godly. Jesus was not traditional either. He constantly made the religious leaders mad at Himself because He did not adhere to most of their religious traditions. He even rebuked them openly for focusing on cleaning the outside of the cup and leaving the insides dirty. These religious folks in Jesus’ day were dressed in the finest clothes at the services and set a high standard for others and they were the ones fussing about Jesus working on the Sabbath, being friendly to “sinners”, and not going along with traditions. I don’t see a lot of difference today among some of the religious leaders. I am not complaining or trying to sound negative but I have a real burden in my heart for lost people who don’t come to church. I don’t want us “church people” pushing our traditions on them. If they ask us why we dress up we can tell them that we do it out of tradition but we are not fooling anyone if we tell them we are doing it for respect to God. Especially when they see us on Sunday evening at the same church with our casuals on or on Wednesday. They are not ignorant and if they choose to hang around and read the Bible they will soon learn that God is inside us, not at the church building anyway. I just think many of us, myself included, need to focus more on loving Christ, loving others, and standing for things that are Biblically supported and worth fighting for.

    Thanks for your time and I’ll see ya right here in a couple weeks with part 3. God bless you all!

    Jan
    22

    I would like to apologize for the delay between my last blog and this one. I have been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to write. It is after midnight now and I am so sleepy but I knew that I needed to write something for all of you who read my posts and support my ministry. I would like to tell you thanks for your time and support and also to tell you that my family and I will be moving back into our home this weekend. In case you did not know…we have been out of our home for 3 months now. The tornados that came through our county on October 29th sent trees through our house, on top of our 2 shop buildings, and our privacy fence; causing over $64,000 worth of damage to our things. Much of our clothes and other personal items were destroyed. If you want to read about the storm and how I felt the night it all hit, just go to my blog entitled, “In the Middle of the Storm.” I have learned a lot since that storm came and I have grown closer to my family and to God as a result of this would be disaster.

    Well, back to this post. As I just mentioned, I learned a lot from going through this storm and living out of my home in the past few months. My family and I have traveled around on Sunday mornings and nights to different churches across the region. Most of the churches we have visited are ones that I preach at occasionally. The thing I want to bring up is something that I plan on writing more about on the next blog when I have more time to get all my thoughts together and give some scripture on the topic but here it is:

    All of my dress clothes and shoes, or “church clothes”, are at my old house that was hit with the storm. I have not been dressing up to go to services and it is amazing how much I have learned. Some people will treat you differently just because you don’t dress up enough for their tastes on Sunday! I have worn blue jeans and a hoodie or t-shirt on most Sunday’s and after a couple of different experiences with churches…I decided to keep on doing it at several other churches to see what kind of response I would get. Some churches have welcomed me in and loved me regardless and others have seemed to frown on me because I did not “dress in my Sunday best”.

    This has really been heavy on my heart and I started thinking about all the people I know who don’t go to church anywhere and I thought about the issue of clothes and how that might affect their choice to stay at home on Sunday. I casually started asking my customers at my barber shop if clothing was an issue for them on Sundays and I could not believe how many people were telling me that they don’t feel welcome in churches because they don’t have enough dress clothes to go. I have been surprised, hurt, and enraged about all the people I have found that are very nice folks who just don’t feel welcome at most Sunday services because they don’t have nice clothes and don’t really have the money to go get a new wardrobe.

    I have been pondering this for months and praying about God’s stance on the topic. Does the Lord look down at us on Sunday mornings and grade us according to our outward appearance? Does God frown if I go to service in jeans and a t-shirt on a Sunday morning or is this a man-made tradition? Why do so many people have a certain set of outward expectations for everyone else to meet in order to be accepted in a certain church? I know that no one should wear something that is immodest or offensive to church, or anywhere else for that matter, if they are a Christian but does the Bible discourage a t-shirt and jeans? What if someone wanted to wear cover-alls to church? Would that be disrespectful to God? I plan on discussing this topic on my next blog more fully and I invite you to think about your own stance on this subject. Ask yourself if your view is from the Bible or from traditions handed down to you by someone else? I don’t care for any tradition that pushes people away from God and his church. We should all evaluate WHY we do and say the things we do…especially when we say that we are representing the will of our Creator in heaven.

    Leave me your opinion and tell everyone you know about this blog. I would love to hear your views and I will post the second part of this blog within a week. Thank you for your time and God bless you!

    Jan
    07

    As I sat down to write this blog I pondered a clever story to tell or something funny to make you laugh but I quickly changed my mind. I wanted this one to be different because the message is short and to the point.

    When I was a child it seemed like each year of my life passed by so slowly and it felt like I would live forever as a kid. I am still in my 20’s but I can promise you that I have already learned the truth that “Life is short!”. I have heard people say this for years but never gave it much thought. I have read passages of scripture in the Bible that speak of how short the human life is but I never let them sink in. This past week or two I have thought a lot about life and how fast it seems to be passing now that I have kids of my own. Man…I finally get it…LIFE IS SHORT!

    Now I know most of you are thinking one of two things: Either you are saying “Amen, I already know that.” Or you are saying, “Life is not that short Josh, what are you getting at anyway?” Well, the reason that I felt like this was worth writing about is the same reason the Bible expresses the shortness of life on earth. If life is short, we need to make sure we get something accomplished while we can. Life is a gift. No one has earned the right to have life. God gives life to us because He loves us.  He also gives each one of us a longing in our deepest part of our heart to search for something. This something is purpose, love, satisfaction, and ultimately HIM.

    Most people who live and die on this planet spend their lives searching for something to give their life purpose, love,  and satisfaction, but most of them never find it. They persue money, careers, fame, education, hobbies, arts, music, sports, recreation, hunting, fishing, sexual fantasies, illegal drugs, prescription drugs,  alcohol, the party scene, relationships, and a host of other things to fill this void they are born with but none of these things ever give lasting satisfaction and fill the void completely. I know so many people who think that if they only had plenty of money, they would be so happy. This is simply not true. Money can do a lot of things in this world but it is not the magic answer to life. Just look at how many problems and dysfunction we see with the celebrities and pro athletes. Look at Elvis Presley’s life. He had everything that one could hope for on the outside. Look at Kirt Cobain’s life as a mega rock star millionaire and he killed himself. Look at Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and Tiger Woods. I am not picking on anyone and I am not trying to highlight the misfortune of these people but they should tell us something. Most people who make it to the top of the financial latter end up in sad shape. Money is clearly not the answer to our quest for purpose, love, and satisfaction.

    So what is the answer if none of these things that drive most people in life are? I believe the answer is found at the source of our creation. The only people who I know of who are completely satisfied with life, no matter what the circumstances are, are devout Christians. People who are living their lives for Jesus Christ have purpose. They understand that they are alive to serve God and lead others to Him. These people know that they are here on earth to show others the path to God and to live to bring other people to the truth found in Christ.

    People who are living for Christ with all their life know how to love others. They have experienced a love so profound that the human mind can barely wrap itself around it. No one can love someone else until they know what its like to be loved. Love is something that only God can put in our hearts and lives. I’m not talking about love that we all have in us, I am talking about true love that is selfless and willing to sacrifice. This kind of love is patient, kind, always forgiving, always faithful, and never jealous. Like I said, people can’t produce this kind of love in their lives apart from God. This kind of love is exactly the kind that God displayed by sending Jesus to die in our place. Jesus did not do anything wrong but He died in our place. God did not have to do this for us but He did it out of true love.

    People who understand their purpose in life and who have experienced God’s love for themselves are satisfied. True satisfaction is what we all long for deep inside. People drink to be satisfied. People go out and party and get high or sleep around to be satisfied. People put in long hours in the gym or at the office to be satisfied. People cheat others in business deals to get more money because they think they need it to be satisfied. Well…I can tell you something that is the truth people. You will never find true, lasting satisfaction, apart from turning from sin and giving your life back to God, allowing Jesus to be the Lord of your life. You can spend your life chasing after anything else but it won’t work in the long run. So many people who seem to be happy on the outside are really miserable on the inside and even though the movies, television shows, and commercials deny the truth I just told you; keep this in mind: they are on TV trying to sell you something that will make them richer and they are just trying to fill that void in their own lives by selling you a false hope. Jesus is the answer to the problem of having a short life. We are put here to find Him. God gave you that feeling in your heart that everyone reading this blog knows deep inside. It is a feeling that we are born with that whispers to us and tells us that something is missing inside us. I know you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are tired of living your life without purpose, love, and satisfaction, I invite you to email me at joshsteed1980@gmail.com and I will show you the way.

    Life is short so don’t waste your spare time. Wasting time is wasting life and life is the greatest gift we have been given at birth. Spend your time-serving your Creator and enjoy this short time have here on earth and live eternally with God when it ends. Don’t waste your life by living it for yourself. You and I are not a worthy cause to live for. You and I will be gone one day but God will remain forever. He is worth living for and don’t forget…He lived for you in Jesus and He died for you too! God bless you all!

    Dec
    28

    As a new year rapidly approaches I have spent the last several days thinking about all that has happened in 2009. Another year has gone by and I am amazed at the speed in which each year seems to move. When I was a child, life seemed to crawl by and now that I have children of my own; it seems like life is flying by! As I look back on the events of 2009 I see things that I wish I had handled differently. Regrets flood my mind every time I look back on the events of my life. No matter what I do and how sincere I am about pleasing my Lord, I always seem to fail in one way or another.

    There is a song by a Christian/Country group (33 Miles) entitled, One Life To Love, that talks about how we only get one chance at life. There is no “reset” or “rewind” button, for us when we want a second chance at something we have done or said. Life is a continual event that never stops or slows down. If we make wise choices, we reap the results of those choices, if we make foolish decisions, we reap the consequences of those as well. I bet everyone reading this has had a moment or two in life when they have acted on impulse and made a decision that turned out to be regretted nearly as soon as the choice was made. I have recently had 2 experiences that I wish I could “re-do”! I am amazed by my own ability to “goof up” on occasion, even though I actively work so hard at trying to please God with my actions. As I look forward to a new year, I realize that I need a fresh start, a new commitment, and ultimately a new life!

    New life for a new year is something we can all use. 2nd Cor. 5:17 says, “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone, and a new life has begun!” As I read and re-read this passage of scripture, and countless other ones, that declare the “newness of life” that God gives all of his children, I realize that I am in need of something. I have Jesus as my Lord, I have witnessed for Him boldly and faithfully for several years but I still need something. I realize that the new life He gives requires us to do like the apostle Paul said and, “Die daily.” Each day we wake up, we wake up in need of a fresh start. We need God to wash us clean and to renew our commitment to serve Him each and every moment of each day. This is the key to having a new life in Christ. God has plans for each one of us but we get in the way by not emptying ourselves to His will on a daily basis. We need Him to guide us and give us a new life, even after we surrender to Him and get saved, we still need to “die to self” each day! I have never mastered this but as I step into a new year…this is my new goal. I am tired of living in a rhythm of peace and comfort! I am ready for God to use me to do whatever He wants and I am making a new committment to Him for this year and the rest of my life. I feel in my Spirit that Jesus is going to come back soon and I don’t want to waste my life trying to fit in with the crowd. It is time to step it up and surrender more fully to Him, even when it hurts!

    As I look at a new year…I look at the cost of living a new life. I see sacrifice, pain, suffering, persecution, death, opposition, wars and rumors of war, a moral decline in my nation, rebellion all around, but I also see the end of the race! I can see love, peace, faith, hope, light, victory, newness of life, blessings, and I can see Jesus coming! He is coming for His children to take them home with Him and then He will come to judge the world. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord one day and I don’t want to wait until that day to confess Him as Lord! He is my Lord right now. Jesus loves us and has offered us love, grace, forgiveness, and the new life we so desperately need. The question we must answer is: Will we turn from sin, die to self, and accept Jesus as our Lord (Master, Boss, Ruler, King) and Savior? This is the question, the answer, and the offer of new life. 

    Happy New Year to all….Happy New Life to those who make the choice to accept it! God loves us and is patient with us but time is running out. I hope and pray that you join me in 2010 with a fresh commitment to Jesus….not the typical one either but one that changes our daily lives and brings Him glory and praise!