Jan 13, 2015

My Hospital Visit

I went to the Hospital today. As a pastor this is nothing out of the ordinary. I probably make at least one trip a week to visit my church friends as they are walking through pain. I was visiting my friend Tex who is walking through a difficult battle with cancer. 

In many instances as I make these visits I come hoping to bring joy and faith to my church members who are hurting. I come to pray for and walk with them as they battle all kinds of diseases. 

This visit was different  than my normal visit. Instead of ministering to my friend, I was ministered to by him. Instead of building up a brother’s faith, my faith was strengthened as I saw a friend stand firmly through pain in the grace of Jesus Christ. 

I am a believer that pain often pain removes our pretenses and shows us for who we really are. It often brings our guard down to the core of who we are. As I sat in this hospital room I saw a man overflowing with the presence of Jesus Christ.

This morning at our Men’s bible study I taught that we are the “fragrance of Christ”. The simple idea is that as we live our lives day to day, Jesus Christ would be so evident that anyone close to us would see it. 

There was no doubt that every nurse and doctor that took care of my friend Tex came to experience the aroma of Jesus Christ. 

In your life, do people experience the aroma of Christ? Does you attitude and words display the love of your savior who sacrificed Himself for you? 

I pray that I would show God’s love to every person who is around me. I pray that also for my church. 

Jan 5, 2015

Narcissistic Love

This week at Memorial Pasadena we are talking about love. As I have thought over what to communicate to our church body, a simple idea has hit me. Have we mistaken world changing Jesus love for unintentional narcissistic love? 

Here is what I mean, back in the 1970s a song was popular which went “I want you to want me, I need you to need me, I love you to love me, I’m begging you to beg me.” I wonder if this is what love has become in churches today. We love everyone who loves us. We love people who make us feel good about ourselves.  We love people who care about us. For many of us the cornerstone of our love is unintentional selfishness. 

The world around us is become more segmented by the day. The gap between races, economics, politics and peoples is growing wider. 

When I read scripture, I don’t see a “want you to want me” kind of love. I don’t see a love that seeks only people who affirm it. What I see is a love that reaches across boundaries to love those who are different. I see a love that continues to love when it is scorned. I see a love that goes out of its way to sacrifice itself for others. 

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I guess my heart has been convicted of my own unintentional narcissistic love. I love people who love me. I have a feeling, though, that its not just me. I wonder if the great problem of evangelism in our modern time is that we don’t love people with a world changing Jesus love. 

This week will you look around at who you love?  Do you love other people with an unintentional narcissistic love, or do you love them with a world changing Jesus love? 

Oct 14, 2014

Houston, Is It Time to Panic?

Today my news feed blew up as my hometown of Houston in many ways declared war on many prominent churches. If you are late to the party, the city of Houston subpoenaed sermons and private correspondence of local churches that recently went head to head with the city over the issue of transgender citizens. In full disclosure, I am a suburban pastor who is not affected by this overstep of the government, but I do have a front row seat as one of the listed churches is just a stone’s throw from my house.

Living in Houston is very different than living in much of the Bible Belt. In Northern Texas and Oklahoma, much of Christianity is assumed into the common culture. It is not so here. Where Oklahoma is the Jerusalem of the Bible Belt, Houston is its Corinth. We are the port city that embraces cultures and lifestyles from around the world. The decisions of the mayor’s office were not a shock to us. I think all Houstonian pastors have seen the slow march of toleration that will eventually criminalize the church.    

All of that said, it is not time to panic. We should not be surprised. I think for the first time in several generations God may be working to wake up His church. On this day I am not pessimistic. I am realistic that this may be the beginning of a longer road of persecution for us. I am not frightened. On this day the churches of Houston have the same hope that they have always had and that is in God who is greater than any government, cause, or people.

Much may change in the coming years in America, but I guarantee what matters will not.

1. God sits on His throne leading His people to their final redemption.

2. No nation will ever carry out a plan that God did not know and that He will not use for His glory.

3. The genuine churches in America will continue to serve God no matter what it costs them.

4. The word of God will be preached regardless of the consequences.

5. No matter what man may do, God will prevail.

Persecution is not new to the living church. In fact, God’s hand is most clearly seen when the world around us seems the darkest. 

As the church was born in the first century persecution followed right behind.  The first church subpoena was delivered by Saul.  Scripture says that Saul “was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” How did the church respond? Scripture says “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.”

Today is not a day of despair for the church. It is a day of hope. American believers have lived gospel complacent lives for long enough. Through this persecution the church will arise, Jesus Christ will be proclaimed, and the hand of God will move in this city.

Sacrificing My Self Righteousness

I love rules. I do. I am a believer that the world would work SO MUCH better if everyone just followed the rules, or at least my rules. 

I am the type of person who when he sees a lane closing on the highway gets over as soon as possible… and then gripes at every car that passes me. 

I am the type of person who wants to make sure everything is fair, always without exception. 

I love rules. 

As I have pastored and live among christians who are in many ways rule followers I have noticed a trend among us. We often become so driven towards the rules that we forget that we are the people of grace. As believers we become so passionate about following God that we forget that everything we have is given by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

Why is this important?

God, who created the rules, gave us a gift when we not only failed at the ruled but also rejected the rules all together. He died so we can have life. 

We are the ones driving full speed knowing that our lane will end. It is Jesus who sits at the front of the line sacrificially giving up his spot for us. 

Why is this important? 

As believers we are called to live for God while at the same time, offering grace and sacrificing ourselves for those that don’t. 

Sacrifice is not easy nor is it fun, but the heart of Christianity is found is this God honoring task.

How can you sacrifice yourself this week? 

Oct 13, 2014

Monday Motivation: Sacrificing Yourself

Recently I have been thinking of how to use this platform to best edify and grow the body at Memorial Baptist Church. Every Monday I am going to attempt to post a vlog (video blog) encouraging you and challenging you from the previous day's sermon.

Yesterday we talked about what it means to sacrifice yourself. 

Sacrificing Yourself from Wes Faulk on Vimeo.

How have you sacrificed yourself this week?

Aug 25, 2014

A HUGE Change In Church This Sunday

Have you ever had one of those “aha” moments? You know, the one where you figure something out that you should have known all along. 

About 6 months ago I had my aha moment. I was sitting with the staff of our church thinking and planning for the future when it hit me that a child could go 13 years in our church without ever hearing the preaching of God’s word. Can I repeat that for you… 13 YEARS! 

Our church has incredible ministries for kids. I am confident that as kids go to our Sunday school, AWANAs and Children’s Church they are taught scripture and discipled to know the great stories as well as the gospel. It just seems wrong that these kids had no exposure to what I believe is the heartbeat of the church. 

This Sunday we are going to try something new at our church. We are going to invite all of our kids from kindergarten on up to join us, not just in worship, but also to stay to hear the word of God taught. 

This bold step will be a sacrifice all the way around. For the parents in our church, they will have to help their kids to listen and understand what is preached. For many in our church who are past their parenting days, they will realize that there are a whole lot of wiggling and squirming bodies  with us. We are taking this bold step because the future of our children’s faith matters that much. 

These “Family Sundays” are going to happen once  a quarter. As a church we want to celebrate these children and nurture their faith so that they are prepared to become the next deacons, ministers and leaders of our church. 

For Christ, children were always around when He taught. Many times they were not still, were not quiet and did not act like small adults. Kids in Jesus’ day acted just like they do today, loud wiggly and noisy. 

On one occasion the adults grew tired of the kids. They told the kids to go away so that Jesus could focus on what really mattered: adults. Jesus simple responded “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

 This week MBC friends, take an extra moment and love the kids who worship with us. Encourage their parents who bring them and celebrate that we are body who has multiple generations worshiping together. 

Join this week for our first Family Sunday. 

Jul 7, 2014

Why we go ALL THE WAY to Florida...

It has become a running joke for those who know Jenn and me well. When we vacation, we like to go eastward around the gulf to the "happiest place on earth."  When the Faulks head out away from Pasadena, we do it intentionally. 

As a pastor, I have strived to live as open and available as possible. My cellphone is printed in our weekly bulletin, I am gladly willing to drop most anything to be with the people of our church, and I strive to be available 24/7 to the church. Most of the year, I run at full steam. I love being the pastor of my church. That said 2-3 times a year I run out of juice and am just empty. 

I have learned in my emptiness that I cannot stay in Pasadena. There is always a sermon, always a phone call, a meeting, an email, and a need that I feel compelled to meet. Hard wired, I am a people pleaser, and I have learned that I can't turn that part of me off. 

As a pastor, we leave the city and state intentionally. Why? Because these vacations force me to take a break. They force me to give 100% of my energy to my family. My wife takes my phone, locks it away, and frees me to relax. 

We go far away, most times to Florida, for a very simple reason.... so that this pastor can unplug.

As I sit here in this hotel room working on a blog (yes I catch the irony), I would gladly covet a few things. I covet your prayers that God might free me from the stress and burnout that I walk with. I request that you might help me by allowing me to unplug. MBC has increasingly able men and women who can do ministry far better than me. 

I am so thankful for my church and the gift it has been to myself and family. I am grateful for a church that loves me enough to allow me to go and invest in rest and my family. I can't wait to see you, but this week I am gladly going to enjoy just doing nothing.