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Friday, April 22, 2011

Sundays Comin

What a wonderful sight to see! As our Good Friday service started the chairs we're filled. From several churches, brought together to remember the sacrifice of our savior. My brothers and sisters worshipping and praising God with all our might. The body using their gifts to help lead us in our evening. Thank you Jesus, may we leave changed. You died for us, I want to live for you!! Thank you for family to celebrate with and for placing them in my life. We have so much to be thankful for and yet if you took it all today, I will still have you Lord. Although we all took part in nailing Jesus to the cross, this is not the end because Sundays Coming. Happy Easter my friends.
See ya at the tomb on Sunday

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Leading the Way

As I've been preparing the message for the "Good Friday" service , my mind has been running a mile a minute with thoughts, applications, and parallels. The one that hit me this morning is how much we have in common with Peter, James and John. These three of course were in Jesus' inner circle. We see in Mark 14:32-42, that these three were to keep watch as Jesus prayed to the Father. Three times Jesus returns to find them sleeping. The first time Jesus singles out Peter and says to him that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (MK 14:38) Now its not certain if Peter is singled out because a few verses earlier Peter was willing to die for Jesus, and now can't even stay awake, or was giving extra attention to a man that we know Satan had asked to sift like wheat. Either way we see three men totally committed to Christ and yet weak in their flesh. Very similar to many of us. We confess Christ and try to live for Him but usually find ourselves in prayer asking God for forgiveness and strength. I have never heard a sermon preached on this point or even this perspective mentioned in Christian circles. Do not be discouraged as their is a great encouragement as we can tell from later writings. These men did stand strong and indeed were used in mighty ways. I believe the reality of Jesus' return is a fog for many. After all how do we compare to Peter who having Jesus with him physically, could still deny Him on several occasions? What does it mean to "live for Christ" to you? Does it mean sacrifice, patience, love, peace, unity, or what? The disciples believed they lived for Jesus and yet argued who would be greatest in heaven. Does this describe you in any way. Why not pause right now and ask the Lord to reveal your areas of weakness that you might be strengthened to serve Him all the more that when our days are ended you might hear, "well done good and faithful servant". In it with ya.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

part 5 of The "Right Means"

Looking out for the interests of others, is our final point for this week. We have looked at five points of having the right means for spiritual unity. Today's could be phrased another way as well. As Napoleon Dynamite said in the show, "I got your back". It is imperative that we look out for one another in many ways including the interests of others. If we are truly united in Spirit and Fellowship, how could we not be actively looking out for others interests? Sure if its not a Godly thing we wouldn't want to encourage it but how important can it be to actually speak into their lives. There is always two sides to a coin and this coins sides are a positive and a negative.On the positive to help encourage, be involved and any way we can shepherd the interests of others. On the negative, which really is a positive, just doesn't feel like it, we need to help our brothers and sisters when the interest moves off God and onto self as we've discussed. Here is the conclusion. We are told to be of one mind, literally one-souled in the Greek, to have the same love, fellowship in the Spirit, actively seeking to maintain the Unity of the Spirit, so are you doing that? That is a difficult question to answer but my prayer is after this week you can clearly see the Spirit that calls you, "home", is the same Spirit that calls us all as believers, "home". How is it that we can have so many difficulties if we share the same Spirit? I give you a one word answer, "flesh". Our flesh has not yet been mastered and will need to be increasingly monitored and corrected as the world cries out to us, try this, buy that, behave freely. My challenge for you today is two-fold. First try praying each morning the little prayer of Psalm 5:3, In the morning, O Lord, you will hear my voice, In the morning I will order my prayer to you and eagerly watch. This is a great little memory verse and a great encouragement. As you pray, expect results and then watch God work. The second part is to study out on your own Philippians 2:1-4 and see what God has to say to you specifically. Then do it:-) I look forward to hearing what God is doing in your life and would love to hear back. Keeping the Word in sight.

Day 4 of The "Right Means"

Yesterdays point was to regard one another as more important, and today's is very closely related. In fact it is almost just like phrasing it a different way. Today's point is, "Do not merely look at your own interests." Paul's point here is primarily, thought not exclusively, to personal interest, serving the Lord. Many churches have division and quarrels concerning church programs and policies that may be equally Biblical. The problem occurs when we promote our own interests at the expense of others. One of my largest struggles as a pastor has been how to encourage someone in their passionate ministry when it does not align with the direction of the church. A tender time when someone feels that God Himself is leading them to this ministry and this particular area, and yet plans to go a different route are being discussed. How easily we can become offended and outright belligerent when we are told not now. How dare someone tell me I can't do this. Many times we develop the attitude that we will just take our ideas and go across the street to the next church. The sad part is two-fold. First that their has been no reconciliation between those where disunity or division exist. The second is with an outlook like this we take our problems, sometimes called baggage, to the next church. Not only is this not fair to the new place, it will be added to in a similar area at the new church. The same heart that caused us to respond the way we did will continue to beat as it does until someone loves us enough to say, enough. We'll get through this and I am not going to give up on you or allow you to let the enemy get a hold. That my friends is the body of Christ. Tomorrow we will wrap it up with the fifth and final point and is also closely related to yesterdays and today's points. Join us then, and until then, Commit yourself to the Lord and His Will to consider others not just ourselves. Keep your eyes on the King!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 3 of the "Right Means"

As we approach today's point I wonder if we have really embraced the true meaning of unity and are willing to take the necessary steps to walking the walk and talking the talk of our Christian faith. I think that is why today's point can be so difficult is because it is the absolute of selflessness. Today's point is, "humility of mind, regard one another as more important." As you recall these are the words out of Philippians chapter two and the main theme is to "maintain the unity". How is it this can be so difficult when we share the same Spirit? The Holy Spirit who indwells each believer, and yet we still experience division and disunity. I believe it all comes down to humility of mind. When we begin to put the needs of others before ours, actively seeking to serve one another, and considering the Lords will, instead of ours. I think of 2nd Timothy 4 where we learn that men will turn their ears from truth and turn to myths. Surrounding themselves by a great number of teachers that will say what their itching ears desire to hear. I believe that these people are Satan's puppets and we as believers should be on guard. The enemies desire is to keep us from maintaining the unity that already exists among those in the family. Settle for nothing less than complete unity and let nothing get in your way of considering others as more important. The less self focused the more Christ focused we can become. The term "regard" is a verb and in the Greek means to have more than an opinion about, but carefully thought out conclusion based on truth. I love the quote that, Humility is that grace that when you realize you have it, you have lost it", so true and so funny.Why not give yourself the once over to see if your truly walking in humility and lifting others up appreciating their value before a mighty creator. Until next time, Word up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Right Means day two

Yesterday we discussed rejecting selfishness and the importance of not allowing ourselves to tear others down. Today we take a look at the second point, which is forsaking empty conceit. This refers to highly exaggerated self-view. Selfish ambition pursues personal goals, empty conceit seeks personal glory. Romans 11:25 Paul warns that he would not want us to be "wise in our own estimation." The ancient Greeks viewed humility as a sign of weakness. But the main thing for us to remember is pride causes us to remove our eyes from Jesus and put on our self. By doing so we become even more susceptible to the other sins such as selfishness, jealousy, envy, strife, pride and empty conceit. Check yourself often as this creeps in unnoticed or disguised as passion, or leadership when actually it becomes about getting our own way. Blessings to you and my prayer is that you will discover the things that are holding you back and deal with them even today! Remember it is not about you or me but the Father.
Stay in the WORD

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unity is sweet fellowship

When we come together there is always the potential for hazardous results, especially if we have strong personalities in the same place. This past weeks sermon on "me Church" was a comical look at a very serious subject. How do two Christians get by our differences in a way that not only glorifies God but brings the two closer to each other and God? I mentioned three elements in Philippians 2:1-4. The right motives and the right markers were discussed but the third point was left off or church would have gone another hour. Although some are fine with that, others get fidgety and begin to lose interest. I wanted to quickly list out some of the main points to the third element, the right means.
The right means has 5 sub points and I will briefly touch on them.
First is "rejecting selfishness", and is listed first because it is a root of all other sins. Look at the example described in Isaiah 14:12-17. Seeking his own will above Gods, Satan fell. Selfishness comes with the idea of building oneself up by tearing others down. 1st Corinthians 3 Paul expresses his disappointment in the church in Corinth, still on milk when they should have been on solid food. Because of their jealousy and strife they were restricting their growth and unity. Jerry Bridges in his book "Respectable Sins" suggests four categories of selfishness. They are selfishness with our interests, selfishness with our time, selfishness with our finances, and selfish through our inconsiderateness. Pretty accurate from my point of view. Which of these do you find yourself challenged with? What are you willing to do to take care of it. Paul gives the solution in our featured text, PH 2:1-4. Check it out and let me know what you see and what your doing about it. I would love to hear from you. We will take a look at the second of these characteristics of the "right means", tomorrow. Until then humble yourself before the Lord.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What do your itching ears want to hear?

Paul warns Timothy in 2nd Timothy 4:3-4, that there will come a day when men will not tolerate sound doctrine but instead will surround themselves with a great number of teachers that will say what their "itching ears want to hear", and furthermore that they will turn their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths. Does this sound like today? And what about us? Do we fall into this category on certain topics or at certain times? Do you stand firm or try to water it down as to not offend anyone. I would like to challenge us to consider the time for "political correctness" is over, not that I ever really thought that it was right anyway. As we draw nearer to the glorious return of our Lord, is it not worth taking a stand and firmly planting your feet on the foundation of scripture. Take a chance to share with those around you. Remember that the only link in many cases between Jesus and the lost is you!! Be bold and fear not because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I know of a couple who took political correctness to a fault. Friends from a foreign country had come to stay with them and were Muslim. At meal time in an effort to keep piece the hostess not only prayed to Jesus but also to Allah. How shameful for any Christian to lift up any other name but the name that saves us. This is the very type of thing Paul is trying to protect the church from. Its time to join him with all our might and speak truth, unapologetically, winning the lost and building the body for the glory of Jesus! Are you in?
Till next time.