We are excited to announce some new features to the blogsite. As more and more readers are viewing from foreign countries we have added the translate feature to the site. Our readers can also now choose to have the blog emailed to them, and they can search the blog by keywords on various topics. We hope that this makes the site more manageable for you. God Bless.

Hear current audio messages by Pastor Scott Burr at:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Disease of Idleness

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6

The church in Thessalonica was a young vibrant church, birthed through persecution. It was familiar with suffering and patient in trials. Paul called them a “model” for other churches. Their faith in God was evidenced through their perseverance in facing hardship. However, Paul recognized a weakness in his fledgling congregation that he warns them about in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

“And we urge you, brothers warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Paul cautions them regarding our tendencies to drift into idleness. A message that they did not heed as Paul has to expound upon his warnings again in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12:

“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ’If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy, they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.”

According to Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, this disease called idleness manifests itself in two strains. One is just outright laziness (slothfulness). This strain of the disease is pretty straight forward. It is knowing what needs to be done, but choosing not to do it. Paul calls his brothers and sisters in Christ to task instructing them that if they do not work, they do not eat! There is no place for laziness in God’s Kingdom. The second strain of the disease is equally as devastating. It is called “being a busybody”. People who are busybodies occupy their time with many things that have no bearing on their responsibilities. They are busy, but their activities are not useful. They fill their day with so many things that they neglect to accomplish the most necessary tasks. They don’t appear lazy, but they are accomplishing no more than the man who puts his hand to nothing.

It is a “disease”! It is habitual and contagious! In his letter to Timothy, Paul instructs him to encourage the younger widows to remarry for two reasons: one is that their sensual desires may overcome their dedication to Christ, but secondly it is to keep them from becoming idle:

“Besides, they get into habit of being idle and going from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.”

1 Timothy 5:13

We must be aware that idleness can very much develop into a lifestyle habit! A habit that robs us of our productivity. Idleness is also contagious, that is why Paul instructs the Thessalonians to “keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.” We must separate ourselves from those people who have no desire to move forward. If you yoke yourself to a man who will not plow, you too will not plow! Let us then expose and avoid the temptation to eat the bread of idleness. No one ever accomplished anything great for God by embracing it!

Pastor Scott Burr

Monday, January 18, 2010

Prayer of Faith

“In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!” Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:20-24

Here in Mark 11, Jesus brings the matter of prayer and faith into perspective. As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Bethany, Jesus became hungry. He saw a fig tree in the distance and he went to it to see if it had any fruit:

“When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it.”

Mark 11:13b-14

The next day, as they left Jerusalem for Bethany, they were shocked to find that the tree Jesus had cursed had withered overnight! It is here that Jesus reinforces the nature of the relationship between prayer and faith. The disciples had overheard Him speaking to the fig tree. When they saw the tree, the very next day, withered from the roots, Peter exclaimed: “The fig tree that you cursed has withered!” Is it possible that Jesus could simply speak something and it come to pass? Can “our” words carry that kind of power? The answer is yes, but not without faith!

Jesus tells his disciples that if you have faith in God, you can say to the mountain ’Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt and believe (that’s faith) it will be done for you. Faith is the catalyst! A catalyst is defined as something that makes a change happen or brings about an event. Once Jesus was speaking to His disciples after they had repeatedly tried to drive a demon out of a man’s son. His disciples came to him in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”:

“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move, Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

Without faith nothing moves! We must have faith if we are going to ask God to do the impossible. If we leave out faith, our words are devoid of power. They may be heartfelt, well-meant, and even passionate, but if they are not housed in faith they are ineffective. It is the prayer offered “in faith” that heals the sick! It is the prayer offered “in faith” that raises the dead! It is the prayer offered” in faith” that moves the mountain! When your prayers are housed “in faith”, nothing will be impossible for you!

Pastor Scott Burr