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Monthly Archives : May 2018

Jesus In 1 Corinthians …. Our Hope …… May 27, 2018

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most pitied. 1 Corinthians 15: 19

     When reading the book of 1 Corinthians, you can see that challenges in the early church were not much different than we have today. Sin and confusion distracts from the true purpose of the church, which is to spread the good news (the gospel) and to make disciples. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church because he was informed of these challenges, and wanted to encourage them to walk in the true purpose of the church, which is to bring attention to Jesus and the hope we have in him alone. Some of the problems Paul addressed were divisions, improper physical relationships, not acting in love, factions of belief within the body of believers, and false teaching concerning the resurrection. Today, just as then, anything in the church which does anything less than glorify God and make much of Jesus misses the mark. That mark is the gospel and the hope we have in Jesus alone and his power to save. So how do we overcome the challenges the church faces because of sin?

If…. IN CHRIST WE HAVE HOPE:
     When you take the IF out of the equation, you can see what we have. HOPE IN CHRIST!!! There are people today that look at the church with a critical view because of the issues a particular church body may have. I’m sure one could find something in every church of which to be critical; but remember if you are looking for a perfect church body on this side of heaven, you will never find it. Also, (I hope I say this without sounding judgmental), I do not believe everyone in a church building who calls themselves a Christian has truly experienced salvation. Jesus said these words in Matthew 7:21 (ESV) Not every one who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 25 is a whole chapter in which Jesus taught using parallels, showing examples of those who know him and those who do not. If you base your decisions of the church upon people, then you are not looking to the true hope…. Jesus.
The true church is not a group of perfect people, but forgiven people who have put their trust, faith and hope in one who is perfect- Jesus. This I do know; the more you grow in Christ, the more you will look to Jesus, and the more you will love people as Christ does. Jesus needs to be your focus and the hope in which you live. Salvation is in Him alone; why would we want to focus on anyone else?

This life only:
     One who looks and lives based on this life only tends to be focused only on themselves. To say there is no resurrection, as the whole verse above is addressing, is to deny the hope we have in Christ. This, to me, seems a very sad outlook to life. You live and then you die… that’s it…. nothing else. You would be just a blip in time and then soon forgotten. Having hope in Jesus means eternal life and to have it abundantly… more than you will ever use up. You will never die!!!! Again, when the focus of your life is all about Jesus and less about the imperfections around, then you will live a changed life. I often think of the hymn that we sing in church, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Our hope is not just in this life but the resurrection and eternal life in Christ alone.

People most pitied:
     This small segment of the verse, “People most pitied” is referring to anyone who doesn’t believe in the resurrection. To believe in no resurrection is to believe that you will not encounter a face to face meeting with God, when life as we know it in the physical, ends. Pitied because unless repentance happens before physical death, hope is gone. To teach there is no resurrection is to teach Jesus lied and was not the Son of God. In essence, to deny Jesus.

     In short, FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS ON JESUS! This will take care of many challenges that you may see or may experience in the church, and, if you are not careful….create. When Jesus is your focus, you  will be gospel minded. You will place more importance on sharing the hope you have in Him alone and not on the things that will pass away and have no eternal value. Our hope is, and always will be, in Christ alone.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Romans …. Our Salvation …… May 20, 2018

     For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 ESV

     I have heard it said that there are many ways to heaven; but according to scripture, this is not a true statement. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV I have a statement that I make concerning things that are clearly taught in the Bible, and this statement is, “It is God’s idea.” As a loving father, raising my children, there were things that were my idea, and I expected my children to abide by what I taught them. My ideas were not self centered but for the purpose of protecting and keeping them from harm. As their father I had wisdom and insight that my young child did not have. So it is in a greater way with our heavenly Father. God protects and leads us in a way that is for our good, but he does not waver from His ideas nor direction. It was for our good that Jesus, his only Son, would come and die in our place, providing the way of salvation. It was God’s idea, and to say there is another way is to say, “I have a better idea than God,” thus making yourself your own god. That, as I have taught before, is exactly what Adam and Eve did in the garden. (Genesis 3) Desiring to be like God, they acted on their own idea instead of listening to God, and the result cost them, us, and ultimately God, dearly. God, like a loving Father, acted on our behalf by sending his Only Son to pay the consequence of our sin. This, again, was and is God’s idea. Saying there is another way is to reject God’s provision of forgiveness for our sin and disobedience. God, in his ultimate wisdom, gave us a road map to find our way back to him. Back to the relationship enjoyed before it was stolen away by the sin of disobedience. This map, referred to and used by many, is called the “Roman Road” as revealed in the book of Romans. Let us travel today with this map called the Roman Road, using God’s idea for a man to find the destination….. arriving at eternal life.

Let us begin at the beginning point, or as referred to on a GPS, your current location, if you are lost.

Everyone needs salvation…
     None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Romans 3:10-12 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 ESV

The cost of sin
     For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 ESV

The Price paid
     God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us. Romans 5:8 ESV

Direction of Eternal Life Accepted
     If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10 ESV …… For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13 ESV

Salvation in Jesus
     Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1 ESV

     There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 ESV

     For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 ESV

     Remember, this is not a formula leading to Salvation; this is a road map. But this I know; the Bible is full of promises from God, and one promise in scripture is this: You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 ESV If you are a person who has already found eternal life by the way of Jesus, pray that God will use you as a road map leading others to this precious life in Christ. If you have never received Jesus as the way back to relationship with God and ultimately eternal life, then follow the road map and seek him with all your heart, for he isn’t hiding from you. Seek and you will find.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

A Mother’s Day Blessing … May 13, 2018

Her children rise up and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:28 ESV

     Imagine if you can, what Jesus might have done if there was a Mother’s Day celebrated when he walked in the world. Do you suppose that he might have written his mother a letter to express His love and appreciation for her? What do you suppose it would have said?…. How about:

Dear Precious Mother,
     Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve made for me over the years. I remember the story of how life was on the night I was born. Joseph, my step dad, told me about the night I was born; how you did not complain even when you had traveled for days, and upon arriving in Bethlehem there was not a room available anywhere. He told me you were happy and thankful just to find the stable, and that when I was born you had the sweetest smile… Mom, I love your smile.

He told me about a bunch of shpherds showing up unannounced, and, being the gracious person that you are, you invited them in to show them your newborn son. Most would have sent them away, but not you; you were kind, just as I’ve always known you to be.

Dad said that when I was around two years old, we had to up and move quickly, and you never complained. You just loaded up and went. Mom, I can’t remember you ever complaining about anything. You always seemed to enjoy life no matter what. The only time I have seen you a little upset was when I was around twelve. and I was separated from the family during our travel. You found me in the Temple, and you were more than a little concerned, but so happy you had found me. I’ll never forget that hug and the tears in your eyes… Mom, I love you so much.

Over the years we had many great times as you helped me grow into a man. I remember the day I went to work with dad in the carpentry business. You smiled that sweet smile, gave me a hug, and watched me walk away with dad. I will never forget the look on your face; it was as if you knew and pondered the something more you knew I would one day do. I often caught that pondering look upon your face as you looked at me, and when our eyes met, you would smile. Did I tell you I love your smile?

When I was older and at a wedding reception, you asked me to take care of a wine shortage they experienced. Mom, you knew in your heart it was possible for me to do so… moms always seem to know the abilities of their children. My Father in Heaven put this knowing in a mom’s heart.  When the day came that I left to begin my journey to do that something more, I remember looking over my shoulder one last time to see again that sweet smile, but this time with tears mixed in. A knot came up in my throat, for I knew that, once again, as always, you were sacrificing with a love only a mother can know and do.

The next three years of my life were a bit more than just eventful, but you were always near; if not physically, then in your heart. You heard people criticize me and make many threats towards me, but you know they were wrong and false… you always believed in me, mom; you are so awesome.

I understand how my Father, when he sent Gabriel to you and addressed you as “favored one,” he told you that you would give birth to me, His only Son. My Father, God, always makes the best choices, and choosing you to be my mother was no exception.

Mom, you are a woman as described in Proverbs, and I rise up and call you blessed. By the time you read this, Mom, I will have already completed that “something more I came to do”, and have traveled back to be with my Father. Know this, Mom, I’m preparing a place for you so you can one day join us. Because of your willingness to be my mom and sacrifice so much, many others will one day join us in this place I’m preparing for them as well. I look forward to one day seeing that smile once again, and will welcome you with the arms that hugged you when I was with you.

Blessings, Mom, and until that day, always remember….. I Love You!!!!

Your Son,
Jesus

TODAY LET US BLESS OUR MOTHERS …..

     A woman may give birth and be a biological mom, but a true mom nurtures, cares for the needs 0f, and blesses, her children. Many a woman in our day has never given birth to a child, but has been a mother to one or more children. It is something that God has put in  the heart of a woman willing to take this awesome responsibility and precious roll as designed by God alone. To these women: we want to express gratitude and honor to you this day. You are special and have a value that words cannot express, for God has created you in this fashion. There is no love like a mother’s love, and you know this to be true, as a child clings to his or her mother as to no one else. So let us………

Honor Her:
     This is so very important that God made it one of the 10 commandments.

Honor you father and MOTHER, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD is giving you. Exodus 20:12 ESV

Bless Her:
     Bless her with words of affirmation.

Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you have surpassed them all. Proverbs 31:28-29 ESV

Love Her:
     Love her for the unconditional love she gives….. she should receive it as well as give it. A mother loves even when many times she is taken for granted. Again I believe this is how God made her. Perhaps next to God’s love, there is no love so unconditional as a true mother’s love.

     Jesus gave us their greatest example of loving his mother. When dying on the cross, he took care of and showed love for his mother before he died. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple“Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-17 ESV  Jesus showed love to the one who loved him unconditionally. In short, he honored her, blessed her, and loved her. He showed us by example as he has always done, and we would be wise to follow his example every day in which we live.

     In closing, may I say for millions around this world… Thank You Moms for all you have done, all you are doing and what you will do for as long as you have breath. We love you!!!!

Because of His Grace~Pastor David

Jesus In Acts …. The Beginning of the Church …… May 6, 2018

     If you were to ask people this question, “What is a church, and how is it suppose to function?” what do you suppose the answers would be? No doubt you would receive many answers, but I believe the main purpose of the church, as instructed by Jesus, is to make disciples and to be witnesses in your community, surrounding areas, and the world. It is an understatement to say the church is criticized today and rejected by many for its imperfect people, but the only perfect person within the church is the Holy Spirit. When salvation by Jesus is experienced by a person, the process of change caused by the indwelling Holy Spirit should be evident in that person’s life. Church is not church because of who we are, it is church because of who the Holy Spirit is in those who make up the church. If the Holy Spirit is not evident within those who gather and call themselves a church, it will look and function like just another organization. However, when the church operates by the leading of the Holy Spirit, it will prosper, not by worldly standards, but by God’s standard. The factor that should draw people to a church should not be the programs, but the evidence of Jesus, and the person of the Holy Spirit being undeniable in that church. Let me share three things that are factors that I believe make up a church.

PRAYER:
     And when they had PRAYED, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God in boldness. Acts 4:31 ESV

     After they prayed, the Holy Spirit indwellled them and empowered them to boldly speak God’s word. They did not speak it arrogantly, or use it to beat people up, but boldly proclaimed Christ. What was this word that was spoken?…. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He came to redeem people from their sins. This word which they were speaking boldly of had become flesh (John 1:14) and dwelt with them, and they experienced Him by the Holy Spirit. Prayer should never be an after thought but the first action in our relationship with God and in building the church as instructed by Jesus himself.

BUILD ON THE ROCK:
     I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 ESV

     What rock was Jesus referring to when He said upon THIS ROCK I will build my church? When in a conversation with his disciples, Jesus asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15 ESV Peter answered, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16 ESV Upon this confession Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church” Matthew 16:18 ESV  If we focus upon anything in the church more than this, we are building on sand. The church is always to build and focus upon Jesus the Son of the living God. Being religious and being Christian are two very different things. When Paul was addressing the people of Athens in Acts chapter 17, He said to them, “I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” (vs 22 ESV) for they worshipped many different gods. But he described God to those who did not know Him and made this point that as Christians, “In him we live and move and have our being” (vs 28a ESV) This should be the truth we practice in every New Testament church.

LIVE IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
     But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Acts 1:8 ESV

     The true church knows there is power in the working of the Holy Spirit to save people from sin. True salvation in a person’s life means true change. Manipulation never saved anyone, but the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of true believers will point people to Jesus. We should pray and speak boldly the teaching of Jesus knowing it is the Spirit of God that changes a person once they believe and receive. The witness we should be giving is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is living in us. This is not just moral living, although that is important, but the reality of something greater. It is the love we have for the Lord and the desire to please him and bring him much glory. The church is all about Jesus and the proclamation of the the gospel according to his teachings. This will never be done in truth unless it is done in the power of the Holy Spirit.

     The church as we see it will never be perfect, for it is filled with imperfect people. However, those who are imperfect in the church, who are true believers, are filled with the Holy Spirit of the One who is perfect. Many reject the church because of the imperfection of people, but they are missing the perfection of God that is working in the lives of those who serve. I always remind people that church was God’s idea, and to say, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian,” is dangerously close to saying what Adam and Eve said in the garden… “I have a better idea than God.” May we never forget where that got us and what it cost God…. his only Son. God’s response to our sin was to die for us. May our recourse to Him be to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let us do this as a church, and God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will do what only He can do…. redeem people to Himself and grow His church.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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