Friday, April 2, 2010

SPOTLIGHTS: Back in the Land of Blog

I have not blogged for 1 year. But I am thinking that this is a valuable tool that I should be contributing to, so I am going to give it another crack. Some of you may know that I am doing a 1 minute "Spotlight; brief messages of HOPE and LIGHT" on 97.1 Kyck FM in the mornings at 7:33 (after the 7:30 news segment). I figured this would be a good compliment to that and a way for me to add to the radio thougths and for individuals to give feedback.
So here goes: "Hit the Spotlight"

Blessings -- a partner in the gospel,

Paul Knight

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Died For Me

The Apostle Paul writes, " We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block..."

We are either the recipients of the work on the cross or we are left to pay the penalty for our own sin.
We either accept payment or pay ourselves.

I for one accept the payment. Thank you.

a partner in the gospel,

Pastor Paul

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Am I like Judas?

Have you ever thought about what kind of man Judas really was? What kind of man could betray Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver?

I am not comfortable with it, I hesitate even to write it, but sometimes I think the line between a person like Judas and myself is not big enough. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. But there are similarities between Judas and myself, uncomfortable similarities.

Judas heard the teachings of Jesus, the Son of God. He sensed His care and love. At least I assume this is true. Judas saw incredible demonstrations of his Jesus’ power. And yet Judas did not allow the realities of who Jesus was to grip his heart. This is disturbing to me. The heart of Judas remained impervious to the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And Judas was right there with Him. And furthermore, Judas was loved by Jesus. And he was unchanged. How could someone be right there and unchanged?

I wonder if there is something about doing the things of God that is dangerous to the hearts of those who do the work. Obviously at first glance, this cannot be true. But maybe there is a danger, a subtle danger, concentrating on doing over being. A subtle danger of doing what needs to get done because of the press of people and expectations and missing the beautiful simplicity of being loved by God and being invited into relationship with Him.

It seems clear that people can exist in the proximity of the presence and love of God and remain unaffected. This is incredibly sad and certainly dangerous! This thought catches my attention. It makes me again think of Judas.

He was the “purse-keeper.” I wonder if there was a pressing financial need or concern? I wonder if he focused so much on getting the work done that he never really allowed himself to be affected. I wonder if the work was so consuming that he didn't have time? The truth is that in the midst of all this doing of work in the proximity of Christ, Judas was still and instrument of the Enemy. Aweful.

Getting the work done, watching the bottom-line, learning to deal with people are all part of the work of ministry (or so it seems), but these can never supersede our relationship with Him – my relationship with Him.

As I sit here on the Saturday before the Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I have pulled myself aside to seek the Lord and to rest my heart. We have had a wonderful week of activity and I humbly say – ministry. But I must ask the Lord to search my heart, to refresh my heart, to remind me of the work of His kingdom - the real work of His kingdom. But mostly to help me. To help me experience being loved by Him, loving Him in return, and loving others in Jesus’ name.

Be blessed knowing that the resurrected Jesus loves you and has the power to transform your life!

Your partner in the gospel,
Pastor Paul

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chairs, HOPE, Tears

Our chairs arrived this weekend for our new worship center. They were stacked outside of the doors of the room that in a few weeks we will be worshipping in. When I stood there and looked at them my eyes filled with tears. The tears came in anticipation of the people who will sit in them and hear about a God who loves them relentlessly. The tears came in thanksgiving for the people who are Giving Themselves Away (our Stewardship theme) for the sake of those who don’t know Jesus yet and those who will be drawn to HOPE in the future. The tears came for the many who have served for many hours to prepare this facility for others.

God thank you for the privilege of being a part of a dream called HOPE.

A partner in the gospel,
Pastor Paul

Monday, March 2, 2009

Encouragement to Pray for the ELCA Church

Stephen Lee of the GRAND FORKS HERALD reports:
In what promises to be a controversial move unprecedented in the history of Lutheranism in the United States, a national task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommends that the nation's largest Lutheran denomination change its policy and allow homosexual clergy to live in "committed, same-gender relationships."

I am not a part of the Lutheran Church. But I am a part of the Church. This recommendation by the national task force leaves me quite concerned. I do recognize that the recommendation of the national task force does not mean it will be a recommendation of the whole ELCA Lutheran Church. So in the mean time, while we wait for the response, please be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ. As we think of this recommendation and the response of the Church to those who live in gay and lesbian lifestyles, I have a few thoughts.

Here are a few of my thoughts and concerns:
• Love does not mean that every passion and desire must be accommodated. I get very concerned with all of us, not just those who support this particular issue, who ask that the Church love us by not teach against our behaviors or by accommodating our lifestyle or sin of choice. If indeed we believe the Holy Bible as the Word of God then our lifestyles and behaviors are to be shaped by the Scriptures. I was in a discussion recently with someone, not from my community, who was upset that the people he is in relationship with keep discussing with him the inappropriateness of his extra-marital affair. His comments began to lean into phrases like “if they loved me they would stop talking about it,” “If they cared about me they would know that this is best for me.” I want to say that love does not just sit by and watch as people line their lives up contrary to the teachings of the Bible. This is particularly true of those who claim relationship with Jesus Christ. The contrary would be our call: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." This act of gentle restoration is the call to all followers of Jesus Christ.

• Love means caring enough to warn, to correct, to encourage, and exercise patience. I understand that there are areas of our lives where we struggle to live into the teachings of the Bible. This is true in my life as well. But the struggle to become more and more what the Bible teaches is a wonderful walk of life. But when we modify or lower the call of Christ to live into the Scriptures then by default miss out on the wonder and beauty of being shaped by Christ and His Spirit. I think of the Apostle Paul who asked God three times to remove a particular struggle. We don’t know what that struggle was, but we do know that it was not removed. And that Paul was taught that the grace of God is sufficient to see him through the struggle. This is the way that passage reads: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God was teaching Paul that there is something of power that is displayed in weakness. How many times do we accommodate the sinful behaviors in our own lives and miss out on the transforming power of God’s grace.

• I am confronted periodically by the question, “What if homosexuals are born that way.” My response is simple, but not without compassion. I honestly don’t think that the issue is about being born a certain way or not. Birth “programming” does not eliminate the opportunity to be shaped by truth and to strive to live into something that fits God’s design for life. I am told that the average male has a propensity or birth programming that inclines us to desire many sexual partners. Some have even said that monogamy is not the natural design for men. I am not arguing that as true or false, but would like to make a comment regarding it. If it is true, which I would personally tend to say that it is, this does not mean that we then throw out the call of Scripture to fidelity in marriage. There is, according to Scripture, a better way of living. And for the individual who by birth programming or nature has a desire for multiple sexual partners God would invite us into dependence upon Him for the strength to live according to His call.

• However the outcome of the ELCA’s decision. The call of all in the church to one another and outside the church is to love. I get concerned on the “other side’ of this issue when I listen to “Christians” who seem to take pleasure in bashing those with gay and lesbian tendencies and or lifestyles. The call to the Church is to love with the love of Jesus Christ. We must not change the biblical standard for living to accommodate either group. We cannot biblically accommodate the gay and lesbian lifestyle. And we cannot accommodate Biblically a lifestyle of not loving.

A partner in the gospel,

Pastor Paul

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The Good News Appointments are probably my favorite type of appointment that God arranges for me. This is when you are given an opportunity or God has arranged an appointment for you to bring a bit of Him verbally into a situation. The appointment may be to speak a word of truth, to tell a part of how God is working in your life,to interject his name, or even to invite a person into life in Christ. Peter, in his letter, says that we need to always be ready.
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

Ready for the Good News Appointments God is preparing for us. I had one of these appointments this past week at the desk of the motel I was staying at. I was in conversation with the young woman behind the counter and began to ask if she were involved in a church or spiritual things. She answered in a way many people do. She mentioned involvement in a church but not really active or engaged. I casually mentioned that the great thing about Jesus is that more than going to church, He wants us to know how much he loves us and wants the best for us. It was simple. It was true. And it was Good News.

She didn’t kneel down and receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. But Good News was planted; and she and I were blessed. Look for these Good News opportunities. And, by the way, notice how Peter describes us doing this: gentleness and respect. It will make for a much better and more enjoyable appointment if you remember his words of guidance.

Your partner in the gospel,
Pastor Paul

Sunday, February 8, 2009


You’ve had this happen haven’t you? Your sitting at your desk minding your own business and all of the sudden someone comes into your mind and you have this sense that you should be talking to God about that person. This is a God Appointment and in particular a Prayer Appointment.

A Prayer Appointment is a prompting from the Holy Spirit to intercede (pray) for someone. Often times you might not even be aware of why you are praying. You just know that God has placed this person on your heart or in your mind. And so you bring their name before God.

Other times you are completely aware. Like a man named Epaphras (if you are looking for names for your kid this is a good one). The Apostle Paul mentions that he is wrestling in prayer (kind of an interesting description) and that he had specific things he was praying about.
Epapharas, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Colossians 4:12 NIV

I know that many of us don’t think we are “good at prayer.” Well, these Prayer Appointments are wonderful opportunities that God give us. I have a prayer quote that I have committed to memory: The people around you need prayer and you need the practice.

Go ahead be ready for these God Appointments – the promptings to pray!

Your partner in the gospel,
Pastor Paul