| Clergy Corner

You don’t have to be an idiot

Posted on 15 August 2019 by LeslieM

One of my all-time favorite TV shows was Country Fried Home Videos, hosted by Bill Engvall. In each episode, people would do things that are unthinkable to a normal person. The most bizarre behavior gets rewarded with the “Here’s Your Sign” award. Past winners include a man who got bit as he stuck his hand into the mouth of an alligator, another man who rolled a large piece of slate down a mountainside and right into his vehicle, and another man hanging a large pincher crab on his nipple – ouch! In my opinion, the winners of these awards are idiots!

According to dictionary.com, an idiot is “an utterly foolish or senseless person.” Well, I’ve come across a few idiots in my day, and so have you. Consider the person who sees a “wet paint” sign and touches it to see if it is really wet. Think about the person who blames a ladder as defective after falling from the top section that states, “Danger: Not a Step.” The worst I ever heard was the man who ignored the warning labels and tried to trim his hedge by picking up his lawnmower; he lost fingers on both hands!

Idiots are not only revealed by their bizarre behavior, but also by their bizarre thought processes. Consider the man who gets angry when the woman he had a one-night stand with asks for child support. Consider the person dying with lung cancer or Emphysema who continues to smoke. What about the 90-year-old man who refuses to believe that his 20-year-old girlfriend is only after his money and not his wrinkly old body. These are only a few examples of foolish or idiotic thinking; but there are many, many more.

Foolish behavior is nothing new. Consider Adam & Eve, who lost everything because they believed a talking snake and ate the fruit. Consider the people who mocked Noah as he built the ark and ultimately drowned. Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant after God told him not to and fell dead. King David had many wives and concubines, but just had to have Bathsheba. Judas saw Jesus’ perform miracles, but chose to betray Him. The crowds chose to crucify Jesus, even though Pilate proclaimed Him to be innocent. People have been making utterly foolish or senseless decisions since the beginning.

Foolish behavior and beliefs continue today. People deny Jesus’ existence, even though His life is documented by historians. People now argue that America was never founded as a Christian nation, although the proof is stamped all over Washington D.C. People refuse to believe the Bible. People know what God expects, but they choose to live otherwise. Proverb 14:12 NIV states, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

It is easy to prove that people make utterly foolish and senseless decisions every day; but the point is that we do not have to. John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Realizing this, don’t be foolish; instead choose wisely. It is appointed unto men once to die and after that is the judgment. So, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. That is the wisest choice you can ever make!

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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Storms don’t last forever

Posted on 08 August 2019 by LeslieM

What a storm we had this afternoon. The lightning bolts were bright and seemed to pause, almost demanding our attention. The thunder was booming and the rain was falling. My wife and I sat on the back porch in amazement, as we watched one lightning bolt after another. The storm lasted for less than an hour and then it was over. The lightning ceased, the thunder silenced and the rain stopped. It was in that moment that my wife spoke these words of wisdom, “Storms don’t last forever.” I said, “That would make a great blog,” to which she replied, “I know,” and then chuckled.

Like thunderstorms, the storms of life seem to hit us out of nowhere. Life can be sunny and, before you know it, you are in the middle of a storm: Finances fall short, companies downsize, health fails, relationships end, careers close out, cars break down, miscarriages happen, we fail tests, miss promotions, and the poor choices of others often affect us. We can close our eyes, cover our ears and bury our head in a pillow; but the life-storm rages on.

It is no coincidence that the Bible records so many stories about storms. Probably the most familiar is found in Matthew 8:23-27 where a storm rose up while Jesus and the disciples were boating on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were fearful and upset that Jesus was sleeping; but when they woke Him, He calmly said, “Peace, be still,” and the storm ended.

Listen to some of the promises in Scripture related to the storms of life. Psalm 57:1 tells us that we can take refuge under the shadow of God’s wings, until the storms of destruction pass by. Nahum 1:7 tells us that God is a stronghold and we can take refuge in Him. Psalm 91:1-2 calls God my (personal) refuge and my (personal) fortress. Isaiah 4:6 calls God a refuge and a shelter from the storm. Psalm 23 reminds us that God protected those travelers that navigated through the treacherous Valley of the Shadow of Death (a literal place). 2 Cor. 4:8-9 states, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Just “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

You may remember the song “The Anchor Holds,” written by Lawrence Chewning and sung by Ray Boltz. I had the privilege of hearing those two men sing that song together. Just before they sang it, I heard Lawrence Chewning tell the story of writing that song in his year of sorrows after: his father died, his wife experienced her third miscarriage, the church he planted and pastored for 19 years split, and he was tired, burned-out and discouraged. It was during that time that God gave him the lyrics to “The Anchor Holds” and used it to comfort, encourage and renew his soul. Those words have also blessed countless thousands of other people, too!

Today, you may find yourself in the middle of a personal storm. In the words of my wife and a Bible full of promises, remember that storms do not last forever. “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Hang in there!

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: In remembrance lies the secret of redemption

Posted on 01 August 2019 by LeslieM

Each moment of life, taken on its own, is imprisoned. It is a fragment and, as such, orphaned from its meaning, like torn pages of a book scattered by the wind. Remembrance creates a gestalt, a wholeness in which all things are redeemed and complete.

The most essential example: You probably have noticed that all the mitzvahs (Biblical commandments) we do are zecher l’yitsiat mitzraim — “a remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt.” It is this memory that takes a mitzvah out of its particular context and brings it into the larger drama of redemption. Each mitzvah becomes another step in an ongoing Exodus that began in Egypt and culminates in the final redemption.

To put it another way: On its own, a mitzvah is just another deed. In the context of remembrance, it becomes redemption: A redemption of that person at that moment and another step in the redemption of the entire world.

[In reference to a parent who has lost a child]: The point at which your child was lost, I’m sure, was impossibly painful. Experiences such as these often become barriers between the present and the past. Memories are lost or tainted by the pain. But if you could see the entire picture as a whole, from beginning to end, the beauty would return to all of it.

I remember a music professor who would start the class by playing a chord on the piano and asking us to write down the notes. The chords became more and more sophisticated as the classes progressed: minor 9ths, suspended, augmented, 13ths… Then, one day, he played the ugliest chord imaginable — and, this time, not only were we asked to write the notes, but to tell him the era and composer, as well. All were convinced it was post-Wagnerian. Most placed it as “modern ugly — likely from the 1920s.” Several suggested Arnold Schönberg. Then he played us the entire piece. It was a fugue from J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavichord. The voices of the fugue fought their way into a crescendo of complexity culminating in the agonizing tension of that chord…and then smoothly resolved back into the sweetest baroque harmony. Of course, it was all beautiful. But the most beautiful was that which we had first heard as the most ugly.

May we all merit to hear the entire symphony fulfilled, sooner than we can imagine.(A portion of an article by Tzvi Freeman on Chabad.org.)

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: How to finish strong

Posted on 25 July 2019 by LeslieM

The 2016 Olympics were memorable for numerous events that had viewers glued to their television screens. Whether in the swimming pool, during gymnastics competition, or in track and field, records were set, victors emerged and champions were crowned. Swimming champion Michael Phelps came out of retirement to attend his fourth Olympic Games and to attempt wins against much younger competitors. He had won gold in the 200m individual medley in 2004, 2008, 2012 and was hoping to win a fourth in Rio. Many of the younger swimmers had grown up watching and idolizing Phelps. Some were eager to prove themselves by beating the aging champion. As the first 50m got underway, Phelps was clearly behind but by the last 50m he had pulled ahead and finished to win a historic fourth gold medal in convincing fashion. It’s not how you start but how you finish that matters most.

How are you faring with your initial goals, resolutions and objectives for this year? Are you on target or have you given up? Hebrews 12:1-2 offers advice for winning the spiritual race, but the same directives can inspire our life goals as well. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God.

There are several practical steps one can take to be assured of attaining objectives and finishing strong:

Elimination (laying aside) is a process of removing and disposing of things that are not conducive to our well-being. Take inventory of your life and assess your readiness to secure what you’re after. You may find you need to let go of things, thoughts or habits that are preventing your progress.

Determination (running with patience) is cultivated by realizing that life is a marathon not a sprint. Good things take time to develop and discipline is required to stay the course. A system or regimen of action will help you to get closer to the goal one step at a time.

Motivation (looking to Jesus) can be found in observing others who have similarly pursued goals, faced obstacles and eventually succeeded. Every person who made it to the summit of a mountain had to navigate some obstacles to get there. Their stories can provide the inspiration we need in times of our own uncertainty.

British runner Mo Farrah was hoping to repeat a win in the 10,000m during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and 11 minutes into the (30 minute) race he was tripped accidentally and tumbled to the track as other runners leaped over and dodged around him. Instead of remaining down and feeling discouraged, Farrah jumped up immediately and continued his run. Despite falling and losing momentum, he regained his composure and got back on pace. He would later win the race and secure a repeat as 10,000m champion.

There is a champion in each of us, but he or she is not revealed until the race is won, the battle is over or the goal is achieved. Preparation (physical, mental and spiritual) is a necessity for the athlete and any of us who set goals and objectives for our lives. Challenges will come along the way, and we may face discouragement and disillusionment when the unexpected happens. Advice such as this derived from the writer of Hebrews will help to keep us on track and on target to fulfilling our objectives. If you’ve fallen behind or stumbled along your way, you’re probably not alone. There’s still time to make a course correction and refocus. Get up with renewed determination; get back on track and finish strong!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: God allows mulligans, do-overs and second chances

Posted on 18 July 2019 by LeslieM

Bad choices, broken hearts, shattered dreams and irrevocable failures are all part of this thing we call life. Satan can use these things to paralyze us with guilt, but God can use these things to draw us closer to Him. He is willing to forgive our failures and to offer us a mulligan, a do-over or a second chance. Too often, people feel destitute after making one bad choice or experiencing a failure in life. I am so glad that God does not define us by our failures and is even willing to offer second chances. The Bible provides many examples of good people who were restored after making bad choices.

Moses is one of the great heroes of the Bible, but did you know that Moses failed in several areas? He was a murderer (Ex 2:11-12), he threw a righteous temper tantrum (Ex 32:19) and he directly disobeyed God (Num 20:8:12). In spite of Moses’ sin, God still used him to lead His chosen people to the edge of the Promised Land and to author several books of the Bible. God gave Moses a second chance and several more.

King David had an affair (2 Sam 11:4) and murdered the woman’s husband (2 Sam 11:15-17); but God still used David to lead the nation, to write many of the Psalms, to prepare for the building of the Temple, and to be in the bloodline of the Messiah. David’s broken and contrite spirit is recorded in Psalm 51 and God calls him a man after His own heart in Acts 13:22-23. God gave David a second chance and chose not to define him by his failures.

Scripture also records the story of a woman caught in adultery (John 8). According to Jewish Law, this sin was punishable by stoning; but Jesus stopped the religious hypocrites that were pointing out her sin and called attention to their own. The accusers left, Jesus forgave the woman and instructed her to go and sin no more. Again, we see a sinner, her repentance and God’s grace that extended to her a second chance.

Remember the story (I Cor 5:1,11) of the man having an illicit relationship with his stepmother? Paul instructed the church to break fellowship with him until he repented; but, following his repentance, Paul told them to receive him back into the church family and restore him (2 Cor 2:6-11). This man was given a second chance.

Finally, for now, we find the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-25). The boy spent his inheritance on parties and prostitutes. When he hit rock bottom, he repented and returned to his father. The father welcomed his son and celebrated his return. The father lovingly gave his son a second chance.

The chorus to one of my favorite songs reads as follows: “I don’t know what a sinner you are, but I know what a Savior He is. I don’t know where your feet have taken you, but His climbed up Calvary’s hill. I don’t know what kind of words you’ve spoken, but His words were Father forgive. I don’t know what a sinner you are, but I know what a Savior He is.” That song reminds me that God is still offering mulligans, do-overs and second chances. According to 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: Go to hell?

Posted on 11 July 2019 by LeslieM

The phrase “go to hell” is an all too common phrase and often accompanied by the one-finger salute or a few choice words. It is obvious that people don’t really consider the seriousness of hell when they make such a statement.

At the risk of sounding as though I interpret the Bible literally (which I do without apology), I believe that hell is a real place. Jesus taught more about hell than He did about heaven; so either hell is real or Jesus is a liar! The Bible describes hell as a place of physical, mental and spiritual torment; where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. It is a place of outer darkness with unending suffering, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Society’s trivial approach toward hell has caused cynicism about it. Hell has been downplayed, glorified and portrayed as a party. Rock-n-Roll classics about hell include “Straight to Hell,” “Burn in Hell,” “Go to Hell,” “Highway to Hell,” “Hells Bells,” “Vacation Hell” and many more. The Charlie Daniels Band told us the “Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Terri Gibbs told us the Devil has blue eyes and wears blue jeans.

Popular television shows and cartoons including Family Guy, Futurama, The Simpsons, South Park, Tom & Jerry and others have used hell as a plot. Popular comics Dilbert, The Far Side, Hellboy and Spawn used hell as their theme. Even Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Pluto have been depicted as being in hell. Is it any wonder that people have become desensitized to the severity of hell?

We would expect the secular world to be confused about hell but, sadly, even today’s churches seem to have varying opinions. There was no confusion in the minds of history’s great evangelists. Jonathan Edwards, Oliver Green, D.L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, George Whitefield, Billy Graham and numerous other great evangelists preached a literal hell. They didn’t avoid truth for the sake of popularity as this generation does.

I believe some people have a hard time accepting that a loving God would ever send anyone to hell. The fact is that He doesn’t … He lets us choose. Because of Adam’s sin, all mankind is separated from God; but “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish (in hell), but have everlasting life” – John 3:16. Matt 7:13-14 LB reads, “Heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate! The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. 14 But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him” – John 14:6. So, the choice is yours – heaven or hell – but avoiding the topic won’t make it any less real.

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: The Rebbe and a Phoenix

Posted on 05 July 2019 by LeslieM

By Rabbi Tzvi Dechter

Saturday we mark 25 years since the ‘Rebbe’ — Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson — passed away.

One of the signs of a great leader is where others might have seen a spiritually dry person, a Rebbe saw the potential or the creation of the most beautiful and inspiring garden. He encouraged us to love him/her to pieces, embrace him with every fiber of our being, open our heart to him, cherish him and shower him with warmth and affection. He wanted us to appreciate him, respect him and let him feel that we really care for him, to see in him or her that which he or she may not be able to see in themselves at the moment. He wanted us to view him as a great human being and, you know what, he will become just that. 

Story: It was 1973 when the widow of Jacques Lipchitz, the renowned sculptor, had come for a private audience with the Lubavitcher Rebbe shortly after her husband’s sudden passing.

In the course of her meeting with the Rebbe, she mentioned that when her husband died, he was nearing completion of a massive sculpture of a phoenix in abstract, a work commissioned by Hadassah Women’s Organization for the Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem.

As an artist and sculptor in her own right, she said that she would have liked to complete her husband’s work; but, she told the Rebbe, she had been advised by Jewish leaders that the phoenix is a non-Jewish symbol. How could that be placed, in Jerusalem — no less!

I was standing near the door to the Rebbe’s office that night said Rabbi Krinsky (my brother-in-law’s grandfather and secretary to the Rebbe), when he called for me and asked that I bring him the book of Job from his bookshelf, which I did. The Rebbe turned to Chapter 29, verse 18, “I shall multiply my days like the Chol.” And then the Rebbe proceeded to explain to Mrs. Lipchitz the Midrashic commentary on this verse which describes the Chol as a bird that lives for a thousand years, then dies, and is later resurrected from its ashes — clearly then, a Jewish symbol.

Mrs. Lipchitz was absolutely delighted and the project was completed soon thereafter. True to his nature, the Rebbe discerned the positive where conventional wisdom saw only negativism.

How fitting, retrospectively, this beautiful metaphor of life … returning from the ashes. In his own divinely inspired way, the Rebbe had brought new hope to this broken widow. And in the recurring theme of his life, he did the same for the spirit of the Jewish people, which he raised from the ashes of the Holocaust to new, invigorated life.

May his memory be a blessing, and may we truly see the good in every one, thus making the world a better place.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: The Value of a Prosperous Soul

Posted on 27 June 2019 by LeslieM

The fabled King Midas revealed his greed for riches when he wished that everything he touched would be turned to gold. The recklessness of his desire was seen in his inability to control the power, for even his daughter, whom he simply attempted to embrace, was turned into a lifeless statue of gold. Undeniably, there is something in all of us that desires to have more of the material and economic prosperity that offers to satisfy our every need, want, and fancy. Books, blogs, seminars, conferences, podcasts and a host of other mediums offering the pathway to riches and prosperity can easily be found. Advertisers have conditioned us to give in to their appeals to get the luxury car, European vacation, or expensive jewelry by telling us we ‘deserve’ it. Do riches truly satisfy, however? What is the source of true prosperity and contentment?

In 3 John verse 2, the Apostle John offers a prayer for a certain Gaius that appears to communicate a key to experiencing true prosperity. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. Definitions of prosperity include doing well, abounding, and succeeding. John’s prayer for Gaius, and indication of what God desires for us, was that the prosperity of his physical life would be equal to the prosperity of his spiritual life. The case could further be made that he conditioned the prosperity of the physical on the well-being of the spiritual in the statement. Either way, the prosperity (well-being, abundance and success) of the soul is given priority in the experience of Gaius’ life. Given the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of riches and wealth, as seen in the King Midas story or the modern (and real) examples that we are all aware of, we would do well to employ a pursuit of soul prosperity. Seek to live a good life yes, but make sure your priorities are in the right place.

Several years ago, I led members of our congregation on a 31-day spiritual adventure focused on the pursuit of soul prosperity. It was a simple exercise that involved a regimen of daily prayer, scripture reading and meditation, increased participation in spiritual activities at or through the church and journaling the experience. Our aim was to draw nearer to God, to become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our daily walk, and to develop as Christian Disciples by bringing the soul (mind, will, and emotions) into greater submission and obedience to the word of God.

While we all had goals and aspirations for success in life, we did not want to minimize the importance of orienting all that we did around our relationship with the God who loves us and has purposed to bless those who follow Him. It was a totally fulfilling experience that I have personally engaged in several times since then. I am convinced that the prosperity of one’s soul is of greater value than the net worth of one’s possessions.

Horatio Spafford was a Chicago lawyer who lost his son at the age of 2 and suffered property damage (and financial ruin) in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He had planned a European trip with his wife and four daughters in 1873 but was delayed by business matters, so he sent them on ahead on a transatlantic ship. He was horrified to later learn that the ship collided with another sailing vessel and sank in the Atlantic. His wife sent him a telegraph with the sad news, “saved alone.” That kind of tragedy and loss would have driven any man to desperation and deep depression. There is no doubt that it challenged every fiber of Spafford’s being, physical and spiritual. One outcome of his grief was to pen words that have brought comfort to many who have had to face the difficulties of life while clinging to faith in God. When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know it is well, it is well, with my soul. You may have a big bank account and an enviable retirement package, but they won’t prevent catastrophe. How prosperous is your soul?

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: I’m a pastor, but I’m not religious

Posted on 20 June 2019 by LeslieM

I’m a pastor, but I’m NOT religious. I’m sure that statement causes many to scratch their heads in wonder, but there is a vast difference between religion and Christianity. The Bible teaches that there are many “religious” people who will not enter heaven’s gates. Matthew 7:22-23 says, “On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

God is not interested in how much religious service you do or if you have followed all the “rules.” Instead, He is interested in whether or not you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You see, “religion” is based on what man does in an effort to reconcile his relationship with a holy God; while “Christianity” is based on what Christ has already done to restore that relationship. Religion says you have to work to get into heaven, but Christianity says you simply rely on Christ’s finished work. Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sin. Because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection; God now offers to forgive our wrongdoings and let us spend eternity with Him in heaven. It’s that simple!

Now, some will attempt to assign the beliefs I have stated to a particular denomination; but they are Biblical, not denominational. God’s plan is non-denominational and you can read it for yourself in the Bible. Look at Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10 and 10:13. Interestingly, His plan never says anything about becoming a Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian or any other denomination. It simply says that God, through Jesus Christ, has provided a way for you to have your sins forgiven and your relationship with Him restored.

The problem is that too many “religious” people add the requirement of good works to God’s plan of salvation and twist the Bible’s teachings to fit their denominational or cultish belief system. Jesus encountered similar difficulties with the religious people of His day. They chose to maintain their personal beliefs, rather than following God’s plan. Mark 7:8 records Jesus rebuking the Pharisees. It reads, “For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” God’s plan of salvation is simple, so don’t get caught up in the “religious” requirements and encumbrances that people try to add to it.

Jesus blasted the Pharisees and hypocrites of His day and I’m sure He would do the same with the hypocrites and legalists of this present day. Pharisees wanted to make people religious, but Jesus wanted to make them disciples!

What about you? Are you committed to Jesus Christ or to a denomination? Are you doing something to please God and earn His favor or have you simply accepted what Christ has already done? Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being religious … Which one are you?

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church, located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or e-mail pastor@gbcfl.org.

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CLERGY CORNER: With boundaries comes freedom

Posted on 13 June 2019 by LeslieM

My wife and I recently vacationed in Myrtle Beach, SC. Upon entering the condo, we immediately headed for the covered balcony to get our first glimpse of the South Carolina coast. Without even thinking, we leaned our weight against the handrail of the balcony located on the 11th floor! Those were the first minutes of many hours we spent on that balcony. We even let our 22-month-old granddaughter play on the balcony. One day, it occurred to me that none of us would sit on the patio, much less let an infant play out there, without the presence of the handrail. That handrail was a boundary that provided us with the peace of mind to freely enjoy the beautiful view from the balcony.
I had a similar experience many years ago when our children were young. We bought a house on a canal, and the yard was not fenced when we moved in. We noticed that our children would go only from the back door to the swing set and back. They never wandered near the water, nor to the sides of the yard. We eventually put a fence around our back yard and noticed that our children started using the entire back yard. They went down to the fence line at the canal and also began venturing toward the neighbors houses on each side of us. Again, it dawned on me… by defining the boundary, it gave a sense of security for our kids. It kept good things in, bad things out, and gave freedom to use the entire backyard, rather than only a small portion of it.
While some would argue that boundaries restrict freedom, the truth is that boundaries expand our freedoms and protect our interests. Within the boundaries of marriage, couples create confidence, establish trust, learn the art of partnership, experience greater happiness, increase their emotional health, enjoy guilt-free sex … and all of this without looking over their shoulder, worrying about STDs or wrestling with emotional pain and guilt. Traffic boundaries also illustrate the point. By staying between the painted lines (boundaries), a vehicle will most often reach its destination without incident. Athletes try to keep their feet in bounds; businesses operate within the boundaries of the law and governments protect those who live within their borders.
Establishing personal boundaries is a healthy part of life. Dating boundaries help maintain purity. Physical boundaries help protect against abuse. Intellectual boundaries allow opinions to be shared respectfully. Emotional boundaries keep us from personalizing everything. Digital boundaries help us avoid pornography, gossip sites, cyber bullying or even attempting to impress others by embellishing our posts on social media.
The spiritual boundaries found in the Bible are also there for our protection. Just as God set boundaries for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Bible reveals boundaries for daily living. Loving God first (Matt 22:36-38), loving others second (Matt 22:39-40) and following the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) are good places to start. The Bible discusses boundaries regarding doctrine, conduct, friendships, business partnerships, relationships, work/rest, idols and so much more. God loves us enough to set boundaries that protect us and that allow us to enjoy life to the fullest. The bottom-line is that the boundaries established by God do not restrict our lives, they enhance it (John 10:10).
Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church (501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach). Contact info: 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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