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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What If Churches Were More Like Football Stadiums?

The Satirical Truth As Far As I Can Tell…

Matthew 2:10-12 – 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

            The Wisemen traveled from far, far away to come worship the Savior who was born king of the Jews.  They counted it an honor and privilege to go to such great lengths to see baby Jesus and offer their precious gifts.  Oh that we all were as determined to worship Christ as were they.  
            I am always pondering ways to get more people in church to worship the King.  Football is king in the south.  People go to great lengths to see their favorite team play.  Millions flock into overcrowded stadiums each weekend.  Maybe what football stadiums do will work for the church.  You think?

What if we sold expensive tickets for admission?
            Attending church is free.  Sure, we take up an offering, but
it’s totally voluntary.  Maybe that’s the problem.  The cheapest ticket you could buy for the Nov. 10 Auburn/Georgia game was $189/seat (and that was in the nose bleed section).  Good seats on the home side of the 50 yard line were closer to $800-900/person.  So you couldn’t get your family of 5 seats at the game for less than $945.  With prices like that, our church could generate at least $100,000 per service in ticket sales alone.  The only problem I see here is determining which are the best seats in the House.  Most people want to sit up front and close to the action at the game, but usually on the back row in the church service. 

What if we made people pay for their programs?
            We hand out church bulletins for free and they usually end up in the trash or left in the pews after the service.  Last year’s Superbowl program sells online for $17.99 + tax and it’s a collector’s item.  Churches are tax exempt, so you’d still get a bargain if we sold ours at a comparable price.  We could earn thousands from program sales.  (Now we just need to figure out concessions—Holy Communion maybe?) 
Since people are dying to pay these exorbitant prices to squeeze into cramped stadium seats to watch sweaty athletes chase each other, surely they will flock to our church to sit in comfortable cushioned pews in a beautiful sanctuary to worship the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins.  Our sanctuary will be packed and our parking lot won’t be able to handle all the cars.  So…

We’ll need to charge for parking.
            People will pay $7 to park at the SEC championship game, but that’s 10 blocks away.  They’ll have to pay $40 dollars or more to get reasonably close.  Perhaps the church can be generous and just charge $20 for a spot in our lot and subcontract out the rest to nearby businesses.  Those parking lots will only cost $5-10 depending on how far away they are.

What if a church service was as long as a football game?
  No one will pay football prices for a 1 hour church service.  That’s just dumb.  The average football game last 3 hours (even though the ball is actually in play for only about 11 minutes).  People deserve to get what they pay for, so we’ll graciously extend the worship service to 3 hours.  Preachers need a lot more time to go deep anyway.  Think how fast we will be able to cure the biblical illiteracy and moral decline in our nation when we commit so much time, energy, effort, and money to worshiping and learning about Christ in church.  Of course, I’m no expert and I certainly don’t claim to know everything, but that’s the satirical Truth as far as I can tell…
Remember, God loves you and so do I!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Is Your Faith For Real or For Looks?

Introduction
            I'm so thankful to Frank and Kaye Fetzer, Jean Coker, and Amy Harris and the youth of Pleasant Grove UMC who came out last week to decorate our sanctuary to get it ready for Christmas.  After they got all the decorations out and on the tree, the youth made their own Christmas decorations for the youth room.  They had some clear Christmas ball ornaments that they were painting or filling with colored sand or glitter.  They made some very creative and colorful ornaments.  However, it struck me how the ornaments are so fragile and really aren't useful for anything other than decorations.  As you read this blog, I would like you to think about your faith in Jesus and ask the question:  is my faith for real or for looks? 

John 16:1-4
1 “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer.


The Persecution of the Early Church
            Jesus didn't want his disciples (or us) to be caught of guard when trouble and persecution came; so he warned them.  A day was coming when his followers would be expelled from the synagogues.  This also meant they would be excluded from their social connections.  Buying and selling and getting along in the world would be very difficult.  In addition, Christ's early followers could find their property being seized without cause and they would have no recourse to fight it.  Jesus never said being his disciple would make life in this world easy.  To the countrary, the early Christians faced arrest, torture, and even death simply because they claimed Jesus was the Messiah who died and rose again.  As early as the seventh chapter of Acts, we see the first Christian martyred for his faith.  Stephen was stoned to death for simply bearing testimony about Jesus death and resurrection.  Immediately after, all the Christians in (except the Apostles) were driven out of Jerusalem.  Can you imagine having your property seized and people telling you to leave town or die?


Real Faith Sustains
            Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith.”  Christ wants his followers to have real faith, not merely faith that looks good.  So I want to share some characteristics of real faith.  First off, real faith sustains you when troubles come.  Stephen’s real faith gave him peace and courage.  Even as he was stoned to death, he showed real faith and courage.  He looked into heaven and saw Jesus and asked God to forgive the ones who were murdering him.  Stephen's faith can encourage us even today when we face troubles.            The early Christians who were driven out of Jerusalem were not silenced; they spread Christianity everywhere they went.  Instead of whining and complaining about how they were mistreated, they were faithful to Jesus' Great Commission; they made new disciples of Christ wherever they were driven.  So the very trials they faced spurred them to grow God's Kingdom because they had a real faith that sustained them.
            Not all trouble comes from people.  American Christians do not usually face the same persecution as the early New Testament Church.  however, we face sickness and hardships and grief and other troubles.  Do you have the kind of faith that will sustain you when the troubles of life come or is it as fragile as a Christmas ornament hanging on a tree?


Real Faith Isn’t Always Pretty
            Christmas decorations bring back some sweet memories.  I remember how my family decorated the Christmas tree when I was a child.  My poor parents had four children so their were lots of raggedy homemade Christmas ornaments on our tree.  The first year they might look decent, but as years went my our paper snowmen and macaroni creations became more and more ragged.  Yet, to throw them away would be sacrilegious!
            There are a lot of sweet sentiments we associate with Christmas time.  The secular world has embraced Christmas for some of its prettier values.  They especially like the idea of Christmas miracles, notions of peace for all mankind, and love.  However, the world's understandings of these concepts is often quite shallow.  Real faith is so much more than a sweet sentiment. 
            Consider what Christmas really commemorates.  Christmas celebrates God coming into our world to save us from our sin.  "Of course, preacher!  Everyone knows that!"  But dig a little deeper into the ramifications of that statement.  God (the Almighty who made the universe and everything that is) came into our world.  That alone is amazing.  But why did He come?  To save us.  That's great too!  But if the God of the universe had to come to save us, that means we needed saving from something very terrible.  Yes, terrible indeed.  It is sin that threatens to destroy us and our world and it lives inside our very soul. 
            So you see, this is incredibly serious stuff--so much deeper than the secular world wants to talk about.  the Good News Jesus brought includes convicting us of our sin and calling us to repent.  The world today loves the idea of the sweet baby Jesus in a manager, but most don't want to think of Jesus (or his followers) preaching about conviction of sin and repentance.  The world's ideal is to just let people be who they are and do what feels good; you know, follow your heart.  But real faith recognizes Jesus is Lord.  His way is the right way.  We need to repent of the sin of following our own heart; instead, we need to give our heart to Christ and follow Him.
            The secular world also likes the idea of peace that Christmas brings to might.  But the peace Jesus offers in not the kind of peace the world thinks of.  So often to the world, peace means just keeping everything the way it is and not upsetting anything or anyone; worldly peace avoids conflict at all costs.  That is not the same peace Jesus offers.  Jesus came to turn the whole world order on it's head.  He came to bring down the high and mighty and proud and powerful; and he came to lift up the humble, the poor, the forgotten, and the oppressed.  You see, there are many things that are not right in this world.  Jesus came to rock the boat, to tip the boat completely over, and to make everything that is wrong right.  Jesus' kind of peace is not too appealing to our broken world that wants to stay the same.  That's why they crucified him. 


Real Faith is Rooted in Christ
            Something many people asked themselves this time of year: are we going to have a real Christmas tree or a fake one. The fake trees are easier and last longer. You have to water a real tree and it might shed needles all over your floor, but a real tree looks so nice and smells so good.
            Of course, it's not really accurate to call any tree you cut down out of the forest and drag inside your a home a "real tree.  A “real” real tree is rooted in the earth and draws nourishment through its roots to stay alive.  Real faith is rooted firmly in a real relationship with Jesus Christ from which it draws nourishment to sustain it. John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
            Is your faith firmly rooted in Christ?  Do you worship him regularly in church? Do you talk to him everyday through prayer?  Do you listen to him by reading scripture? Do you walk with him through service? Do you commune with him often though the Lord's Supper? These are the ways to have a living relationship with Christ that will nourish real faith.


Real Faith Challenges You
            Sentimental Christmas images on our Christmas cards imagine us sitting by a cozy fire, beautifully decorated for Christmas with stockings hanging on the mantle.  We sit and sing carols and a doze on our comfortable couch.
            However, real faith starts as soon as we step outside our comfort zone.  It’s hard to grow your faith from inside your own safe bubble.  Jesus said, “Go make disciple of all nations..."  Go is more an attitude for believers than a geographical location. Some will go to Vietnam, the Philippines, Africa, or El Salvador. Others will simply go next door to their neighbor or coworker or relative.  Bit we all must go, even if it is uncomfortable or awkward or scary. Going is not optional, it's a command.  How does your faith challenge you to get outside your comfort zone?

So, Is Your Faith For Looks or For Real?
            My sanctuary is all decorated.  Your homes are or will be decorated soon.  Decorations are for looks.  They are fragile and that’s ok; they don’t have to be very durable.  They’re just for looks. 
            But what about your faith?  Is your faith in Jesus just for looks or is it for real?  Will it sustain you when the troubles of life come?  Will it hold fast when people oppose you or persecute you?  Is your faith in Christ alone—even if the whole world abandons his teachings?  Is your faith rooted deeply in a real, daily, intimate relationship with the living Savior, or are you only following a dead man you’ve heard about from a book or in church.  Does your faith challenge you to step outside your comfort zone to GO where Jesus sends you and do what he asks of you—even if it’s hard?  Does your faith give you strength to obey? 
            These are the thing I challenge you to contemplate as you prepare for Christmas over the next few weeks.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase - Thanksgiving Edition

Psalm 100 - A Psalm of Thanksgiving

1 All the earth shout praises to the Lord!
2 Serve Jehovah with a cheerful heart and sing a song of joy when you come to meet Him face to face.
3 Come knowing in the core of your being that Jehovah is Supreme, THE God, God of ALL. He made us and we belong to Him.  We are His tribe, the sheep in His pasture.
4 Give thanks as you enter the gates of His city and sing praises as you gather around His house. Praise Him with your hands lifted as high as you can raise them. Cry, "Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!" as you multiply the honor and glory of His fame.
5 Here's why:  Jehovah is the very definition of good.  His mercy never runs out and He is faithful to every generation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Honor & Respect

Introduction
            I got to see my daughter, Grace, march in the Veterans Day parade in downtown Dalton with the Coahulla Creek High School Marching Band Saturday.  They did great.  We stood about three quarters of the way toward the end of the parade route waiting for the procession to make its way to us.  As we waited, a reporter from the Dalton Daily Citizen came by ask why we were at the parade.  I said it was to see my daughter in the band, but it was more than that.  I think it is important for the community to come together to do something big to show honor to those who serve our country.  Americans are blessed with peace, prosperity, and relative security, but these don't just happen by accident.  Many people sacrifice to ensure the blessings we enjoy.  It's important for us to honor them.
            This blog will consider the meaning of honor and respect and encourage you to have them in greater measure.  Let's look together at a time when Jesus--the Son of God, the Lord of lords and King of kings--was not given the honor and respect due to him. 

Matthew 13:53-58
53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. 54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” 55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

The Hometown Disadvantage
            Normally, when a football team plays in their own hometown, you would say they have a the hometown advantage.  Everyone from their hometown is there to root for them and it gives the home team a certain boost.  Unfortunately, Jesus found the opposite in Nazareth.  You might say he suffered from a hometown "disadvantage".  Jesus was dishonored and disrespected in his own hometown.  Those who knew him best, wouldn’t accept or honor him.
            People are often enamored by the novelty of the novel and take for granted the familiar.  They may listen to someone they don’t know—a teacher, a preacher, an author, a celebrity—just because they are different.  At the same time, they may dismiss the counsel of someone they know, because they know their faults and shortcomings and the things about them that get on their nerves.
            Veterans go off to serve, maybe even to fight, and they learn things like discipline, honor, respect, and wisdom.  They may come home with more life experience and maturity, but their hometown friends and family still see them the way they were before.  
            The people of Jesus’ hometown were amazed.  Jesus' teaching was obviously full of wisdom and power; but instead of honoring Jesus, they scoffed.  They couldn't accept that the hometown boy they watched grow up could be anything more than "the carpenter's son". 
            The book of Proverbs was written to teach wisdom.  I've been studying it since this past summer.  The word scoff comes up again and again in the book of Proverbs.  It is sometimes translated as scorn or mock.  All these words are related and come from a Hebrew root word that means "to make faces at."  Imagine two little kids arguing with each other and they don't know what words to use anymore so they just start making faces at each other.  That's the essence of scorn.
            Proverbs 15:12 says, “Mockers hate to be corrected, so they stay away from the wise.”  Scoffing and mocking and scorn are ways to dismiss or deflect something that makes you uncomfortable or that you don’t want to accept.  The people of Nazareth scorned Jesus because they couldn't accept that he was anything more than "the carpenters son."  Where did he get all his wisdom?  Where did he get his power?  What are all these stories about miracles he'd performed?  He didn't go to college or seminary.  He didn't learn from the best rabbis in the land.  And yet, Jesus' teaching was full of power.  So instead of accepting something they couldn't understand or that made them uncomfortable or didn't fit in their worldview, they scorned him.  Sadly, they missed out on the wisdom and miraculous power and redemption Jesus had to offer. 
            Scoffing and scorn hurts you as much or more than anyone else.  It's so much better to offer honor and respect.  So let's look at what it means to honor and respect. 

Honor
            Honor means to value, to prize, to consider very valuable.  Honor is something you do because of who a person is or what they represent.  For instance, the 10 Commandments tell us, "Honor your father and mother."  So you honor your parents because it is a command of God.  You look for ways to show them honor.  You listen, you obey, you do nice things for them.  Even if your parents haven't always acted honorably, you can honor the position. Your honor as a gift you give and it doesn't require people to earn it.
            And here's the thing:  when we honor people, they tend to live up to our honor.  I am always humbled when people show me honor because I am a pastor.  I am humbled because I don't feel worthy of the honor.  Yet, it always inspires me to try to live up to the honor someone has afforded me. 
            Jesus hometown did not honor him because they didn’t accept his position.  Rather than seeing him as the Son of God (or even as a prophet), they only saw him as someone who was not highly educated, who had no credentials, and was a nobody.  To them, Jesus was just a “carpenter's son.”  The people of Nazareth refused to honor Jesus, even as a gift.  They rejected Christ to their own detriment. They missed out.

Respect             Respect is related to honor, but it is not the same.  Respect means to admire (someone or something) as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements.  We honor regardless of someone’s abilities or achievements; it is a gift we give.  Respect is merit based.  Respect is earned.
            Now you can still respect someone just because of the position they hold.  If a police officer pulls you over while you are driving, please respect them.  Even if you don't know the person, respect the badge; it is a symbol of the danger they put themselves in for the sake of the community.  The badge of an officer has earned the right to be respected.  We respect police officers, soldiers, judges parents, elders, because each of these titles has earned the right to be respected.
            You may respect someone initially just because of their positio , but that only goes so far.  True respect, deep respect, is something people earn when they prove they are worthy of respect.  If you are in a position of authority, you ought to act in way worthy of respect.  True authority is not something you have to wield; it is something people grant to you willingly when they respect you. 
            Fathers, husbands, do you want your children and wives to respect you?  Then act respectably; prove you are worthy of respect.  Leaders act respectably.  Mothers, wives, women, men, children act in ways that earn respect and you will likely be more respected. 

Conclusion
            Our world needs less scoffing and mocking and sarcasm and more honor and respect.  Who can you honor and how?  How can you show respect?  Look for ways to show honor and respect.  Live honorably and respectfully.  Romans 12:10 says, "Outdo one another in showing honor." (ESV)
            Let me end with this question.  Who is Jesus to you?  To the people Nazareth, he was nobody worthy of honor.  But who is he to you?  Was he just "the carpenters son?"  Was he an influential teacher, religious leader, or a prophet?  Or is Jesus the son of God, the Lord of lords, the King of Kings?             
            Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord" [i.e. the deep reverence, honor, and respect the Lord] "is the beginning of wisdom."  I suggest Jesus is the Lord.  He came to earth to show us the way to live.  He died on the cross to satisfy the cost of our sins.  He rose from the grave on the third day because he has power of sin and death.  And he ascended to Heaven because he is Lord of all.  There are many on earth who are worthy of respect and we honor all that we can, but only Jesus is worthy of worship. 
            What then should we do?  We should fall on our faces before him and submit completely to him.  We should surrender all and let Jesus be Lord of our life.  We respect Jesus for what he did, but even more for who he is.  Thankfully, he loves us perfectly and knows exactly what we need and beckons us to come receive blessings and honor and glory right alongside him.  Isn't that amazing?  I hope you will turn to the Lord with respect and honor and worship him today and every day.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Saving Time

Introduction
            Late Saturday night, we turned our clocks back one hour for the end of daylight saving time.  DST was suggested way back in the 1700s by Benjamin Franklin as a way to optimize the use of extra daylight in the longer days of summer.  DST didn't really catch on until the late 1960s/early 1970s.  Now it is common through most of the world to adjust our mechanical clocks to more closely reflect the pattern of the sun in the summertime. 
            People didn't need daylight saving adjustments in Jesus day because they didn't rely on mechanical clocks or watches.  Everyone back then reckoned time according to the sun, so daylight usage was self-regulating.  Even a sundial would self regulate because it determines time based on how the sun shines--longer days would automatically give you longer hours on the sundial.
            Regardless of how you tell time, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Have you ever prayed that there could be more?  Well, I want to read a story from the Bible about a time God’s people prayed for more hours in the day and how they used their extra time.  And I want you to ask yourself, “What would I do if I had an extra hour in the day?”
            Before I read the passage, let me give you a little background.  You may remember that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but God used Moses to deliver them.  Since the Canaanites were an evil people who had turned their backs on God, God said He was going to give that land to the Israelites.  After Moses passed away, Joshua became the leader of the Israelites and led them to conquer Canaan.  City after city fell before the Israelites and the Gibeonites made a peace treaty with Israel promising to be their servants if they would be their allies and help protect them from the other cities in the area.  Joshua agreed an the Gibeonites became the Israelites ally, signing a mutual defense treaty.
            There were also five Amorite kingdoms who were becoming fearful of Israel's growing power.  They were even more alarmed when the Israelites allied with the Gibeonites.  The five Amorite kings formed an alliance of their own, thinking five kingdoms working together could easily defeat the two kingdoms of Israel and Gibeon.  The five Amorite kings attacked Gibeon.  Gibeon sent messengers to Israel saying, "Help! Help! We're under attack!"  And Joshua led the Israelites army to their defense and God fought for them. 

Joshua 10:9-14 Joshua traveled all night from Gilgal and took the Amorite armies by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into a panic, and the Israelites slaughtered great numbers of them at Gibeon. Then the Israelites chased the enemy along the road to Beth-horon, killing them all along the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As the Amorites retreated down the road from Beth-horon, the Lord destroyed them with a terrible hailstorm from heaven that continued until they reached Azekah. The hail killed more of the enemy than the Israelites killed with the sword.

12 On the day the Lord gave the Israelites victory over the Amorites, Joshua prayed to the Lord in front of all the people of Israel. He said,
“Let the sun stand still over Gibeon,
    and the moon over the valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still and the moon stayed in place until the nation of Israel had defeated its enemies.
Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. 14 There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day!

Explanation
            In this passage, we see the army of Israel defeated the five Amorite armies.  And God fought with them--raining down a terrible hailstorm that killed more enemy soldiers than were killed with a sword.  And then an amazing thing happened.  Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still in the sky so the Israelites would have enough daylight to finish destroying the Amorite armies before it got dark and they could slip away to fight another day. 
            A lot of people find all this killing in the Bible hard to stomach.  It was a gruesome business, but it was a gruesome time.  My point today is not to talk about the violence in the Bible.  Aren’t you glad we don’t have to fight the battles Joshua fought?  However, let us not forget that in America, though we may live in relative ease, our freedom and peace do not come without cost.  Thank God most of us will never need to pick up a sword or a gun and kill in order to protect ourselves or our loved ones or our country or our faith.  However, never forget that there are others who fight on our behalf; and many of them our comforted to know God may fight along side them as He did for Joshua and his army. 
            Joshua needed more time to finish his violent mission for God, but thankfully, we can use our hours to be obedient to God in less violent ways like love, mercy, repentance, salvation, healing, and building relationships.  But do we?  Do we use our time wisely or do we squander the gift we’ve been given? 
            Today, I want to give you four things you can do to use your time wisely.  We gained an hour over the weekend.  I know that the time change has already occurred, but it will probably take your body a few days to adjust.  It is likely that (for a few days at least) you might wake up before your alarm clock goes off.  What will you do with the extra time?  Here are some suggestions I offer. 

4 Things You Can Do With Your Extra Hour
            Number 1 - Sleep!  There's no guilt in getting a little extra sleep.  Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  40% of American don’t get enough sleep and a lack of sleep can lead to health problems and cognitive impairment.  So, discipline yourself to get enough sleep.  Go to bed on time so you can get up on time and be the sharp person you need to be.
            Number 2 - Establish a new healthy habit.  Go for a walk.  Experts tell us that walking for just 30 minutes a day can lead to better health and a better attitude.  And these can lead to a better spiritual life.  If you wake up before you alarm goes off,  you could also toss and turn in your bed or you could get up and spend the extra time in prayer and then follow up with people by sending a card, text, or email.  Or you could use the extra time to read a few chapters from your Bible, read an Upper Room daily devotion or a good Christian book.  Maybe you could Write cards, bake some cookies to take to someone to show them you care.  All of these would be a good use of your time.
            Number 3 – Repent of your sin and turn to God.  Hebrews 3:12-13 says, "See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness."  God will forgive any sin—even if you’ve done it over and over and over—but the longer you go without repenting, the harder it is.  Your heart becomes hard, so don't put it off.  Turn to God today!
            Number 4 – Forgive others.  Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil."  We should be quick to forgive. But why?  Harboring a bitter grudge in your heart provides a foothold to the devil.  Think of your heart like castle with massive walls to protect it from evil.  Nothing can scale the walls to harm you inside.  But when you refuse to forgive, it creates foothold and hand holds so the devil can climb right up and over your castle walls.  Once inside, he can do all kids of damage.  So be quick to forgive and keep your heart safe and protected.

Conclusion
            So what are you going to do with your time this week?  I encourage you to pray about it and ask God to use your time wisely.