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Friday, December 21, 2012

The cost of Christmas

Well first and foremost Merry Christmas! Just a few days left and it will be here. Food, family, gifts, lights, and eggnog. Yet we also must remember that immediately following Christmas, depression hits like a lead balloon for many people. A major build up that climax's and then drops off like the first hill of a roller coaster. Along with that is one of the most active times in churchs and fitness clubs. Churches enjoy seeing new faces, or faces of those who have faded away as lifes demands escalate leaving us to choose priorities. The same is true for fitness clubs, a large boost to membership and attendance that over the first quarter dwindles down to where they were before. Why is this? Simply put, people are looking for something. Happiness, acceptance, love and appreciation. Some of us try to make this happen through our appearance, or if we look good we feel good. Kind of like the guy in the hair commercial who states that, everyone knows that 90% of feeling good is looking good, good grief! If a new mop on my head brings happiness, the world is even more shallow than I have realized. But yet another group search the church for what they feel is missing. From childhood most people have had some exposure to a church of some sort and when crisis comes or gloom something within us pushes us toward the church. Some fight it and others reluctantly go, but the truth is the church is no more of a fix than 500 squat thrusts or a new mop on your head. Ironically the very thing that creates the excitement of Christmas isn't the gifts, glitter and gluttony, but the infant who brings, love, hope, and faith. Simply put the baby we celebrate brings salvation. Salvation is what frees you and I from our feelings of lonliness, depression and anxiety. This humbly born, infant is the God child and came to seek and to save that which was lost. Healthy people don't seek out a doctor, but those who are ill need to see a physician. So it is with your spiritual life. Jesus is just what you need to take care of those holiday blues. Here are some facts for you to consider: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 Because of our sin, we are deserving of Gods wrath. Or another way to view it is our sin has earned us death. Romans 6:23 BUT, God has recognized that you are guilty and unable to fix your situation. Nothing you have and no amount of good works can pay the penalty that is due, so God Himself takes on your punishment and wipes the slate clean. Romans 5:8 If you place your faith in Christ and in Him alone to act in your place as an advocate before the Father, and confess Him as Lord you will be saved. Romans 10:9-10&13 John 3:16 and John 14:6 indicate the commitment and love of God the Father as well as the truth that there is no other way by which we must be saved. If this is your first time or 100th time of hearing this, don't hesitate to get right with God. He will lead you through the challenges this week and this next year and forevermore. Also get plugged into a Bible teaching church that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Heavenly Father. If this is your first time ever hearing these truths it is simple to talk to God and ask Him to be your Savior. A short prayer similar to this will be sufficient: God, I recognize my sin before you and my helplessness to make it right. I claim the promises in your Word and ask Jesus to be my savior. I understand He came and lived among us and took my sins, nailing them to the cross at Calvary. Upon accepting you as my Savior, my sins are forgiven, both past, present and future. Thank you for saving me and help me to live for you. If you prayed to recieve the Lord please shoot me a note and I will send out some helpful information, and if you need a Bible one of those as well. May this be the year that we look at the baby in the manger as a gift from God for salvation and eternity. Merry Christmas Pastor Mark

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas

Merry CHRISTmas!! I'm challenging everyone I can to put CHRIST back into CHRISTmas. It all started when I was dragged to a specific well-known hot spot for deals on black friday. I usually don't do that type of thing but sure enough out we went, by the way it was actually Thursday night not Friday. After entering the facility looking at arm to arm people, I did what any God-fearing pastor would do. No I didn't take up an offering but I did freak out and go sit in the van, cowering like a newborn baby for the next 3 hours while my kids and wife took on the wild adventure to obtain the gold. It was a $1.96 movie. Sounds funny now, unless shes reading this and then it is all serious and she is so brave.:o) Anyway it was a reminder of what most of us think of Christmas. A major excuse to shop, jockey for position in line, and save money. Of course saving money on things we need are one thing, but saving money on stuff we didn't know we needed until we saw how much we could save is quite another. Listen, here is the point. Take Christ out of Christmas and you have no celebration. No amount of gifts will make up the difference for the gift of salvation through a tiny infant entitled, Son of God. Jesus is the reason for the season. Now to all you atheists, first thing is I pray for you that this is the year you will search the truths and undeniable evidence of our savior. There is no less proof of Jesus' miraculous birth than there is for George Washingtons birth. If you desire to continue to take Christ out of Christmas, make a real statement and go to work, continue doing what you normally do, take down your decorations and live out what you are attacking. (At least you may earn a little credibility) Secondly, this is my country as well, and my right to worship my God will not be removed from me, because of a few self righteous individuals. My rights are not superceded by yours!! Instead I invite you to enjoy the season and find true peace in Christ. Until next time, merry CHRISTmas! P.M.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Prayer, it does a body good!

So it hit me as I was driving this week, the importance of prayer. Not that I never understood the importance before, but this week I was really challenged. Here is how it started. I was listening to a podcast when the well known speaker shared he was asked to attend a supper at the white house and lead in prayer. His invite was issued by Michelle Obama. He continued on makeing a statement, "who wouldn't want to attend an invitation by the president?" I found myself instantly thinking, "I wouldn't have any desire to be in the same room with them!" Now before you get to judgemental, don't we all have someone we feel that way about, maybe even the same people? Anyway, from there a mirage of thoughts coursed through my mind leaving me to struggle with my beliefs, right vs wrong, flesh vs spirit to mention a few. It really came down to a relatively easy deduction of 3 options. yes, no and yes with the wrong motivation. Now as a side note, I will continue to stand on the truth of who Jesus is and why it is we have an ongoing connection with God which enables us to speak to the Father and be heard. Anyone desiring to join ranks and pray together must be of the same Spirit. The Lord's prayer found in Matthew 6 is where we have and will be teaching out of for a few Sundays and it is so abused and misunderstood. Here are two clarifications that people seem to be unclear on. 1st, The Lords prayer, more accurately should be called the Disciples prayer, and serves as a model. Isn't it profound the very instruction to not offer repetitive prayers to God is exactly what some denominations are doing? When you sin to offer up a prayer for repentance by reciting a prayer with cautions on repetition. odd, isn't it? The Lords prayer serves as a model and not a rigid format to be robotically recited and repeated for some sort of special blessing. We know it is a model for many reasons but I will give only two here quickly. The Lord Himself tells the disciples to then pray in this way. It is instruction on the hows and whys of prayer. Jesus is sharing the elements of a righteous prayer. He very easily could have said pray this prayer as I do, but that brings us to the second reason. 2nd, The Lord was not praying this prayer but merely teaching the disciples, because Jesus lived without sin and so to ask the Father to "forgive us our trespasses" would have no bearing on His part. He had nothing to ask forgiveness from, if He did He sinned and would be void of the ability to serve as our spotless sacrifice. There is so much more to learn from this great model of prayer. Back to my struggle, it was good for me to have to wrestle with this, on the one hand sinners could use prayer because that is the only thing that will change them, yet to be seen with the wrong people is a hard thing to deal with. Kind of like seeing your best friends daughter with a known addict. So as i leave you today, ponder this thought, talk about this with your family and may your conclusion and discussion be God honoring, If I was asked to be in a public place with a high profile individual who is about as ungodly as you can get, would you go? Would you pray for him/her sincerely, use it as an attempt to share the gospel, or whould you reject the offer to save your reputation and avoid controversy? Till next time, honor the King!! P.M.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

its what you asked for

Well there you go, America voted and it has chosen four more years of deception, higher taxes, astronomical growth in the defecit, job losses and a scandal that has been big enough to make watergate look like a sandbox dispute. Yet for some reason many American's blindly follow this deceptive man. Are they unaware on his stance on abortion, his ties with the muslims, overheard conversations with both terrorist leaders and country leaders that want the United States out of the way, and his myriad of other stances. Isaiah 5:20 says, "woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." As a Christian I understand that things must grow increasingly chaotic and that there will be individuals brought to power to orchestrate the downworld spiral of the world, country by country, but what truly amazes me is the wreckless abandon of the American people that can overlook the intentional crippling of a once great and strong nation, founded on Biblical principles. Thats right, Jesus Christ's teaching! How's that for politically correct? Here is the main point for todays blog. God is Sovern regardless of our actions!! Nothing takes place outside of His approval and quite honestly an immoral nation, killing babies, rewriting marriage and living openly perverse will get its reward. The Bible is full of cities that have been destroyed due to immorality. Seize the day be bold and serve Christ. To find out more on becoming a Christian, having a stronger walk and building your faith drop me a line and I will be happy to help. Till next time, Don't be discouraged, remain focused and intentional on transforming lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. P.M.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Well now that we have completed our bridges series, studied spiritual gifts, and began to build our small group ministry, with nearly 100% involvement, what next? When you think about it the only logical step is to pray. Pray with dedication and assurance that the Lord answers prayer. Specifically that we would grow as a church body and in our impact to NorthEast Nebraska. Our movie night was a great success with all the people you invited and it was such a joy to hear the laughter and fellowship within our church and with those who came for the first time. Secondly, pray for our country. I believe that God is sovereign and whoever comes out winner will be the one God has raised up to accomplish His will. I further believe that 4 more years of the same old stuff and the new proposals will be a crossing point. By that I mean we already see decisions being made that use our tax dollars to kill innocent babies. Legislature is being pushed to make it illegal to speak freely and our religous freedoms are in serious jeoprody. This election may very well be the election that makes you ask the question, "Do I follow man or follow God?" I know what my anwer is, do you? Be sure and check out citizen link and focus on the families websites for details on the candidates you will be voting on. Dont rely on the biased medias articles but look at how the individuals voted. This week will be a week of prayer for many as we approach the elections but how many of them prayed for our leaders the last four years? Could you imagine going to work every day facing the current administration knowing you were not being lifted up in prayer? I find it amazing that the one thing we all are capable of doing we forego for one vote and then forget it until the next vote. Its time for Christians to let thier voices be heard and stay the course, honor God and rejoice. Until the votes are counted stay in the presence of God P.M.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

bridging the gap of adversity

Where were you when adversity hit? The twin towers, or the 35W bridge in Minneapolis, MN, or a dozen other major events. Not all adversity is this well known and the truth is we'll all hit it at some point. The Bible is full of examples of individuals facing adversity. For some, adversity is what hits other people and never me, for others it is always hitting me and never anyone else. In both cases they are dead wrong! Adversity is so much bigger than just ourselves. Look at the example in scripture of Paul and Barnabas, found in Acts. A "sharp dispute", arose between them and they seperated or parted ways. All because Mark left them on thier previous trip and went back to Jerusalem. Interestingly enough Paul discusses dealing with division a lot in his epistles and yet the sharp disagreement would be an angry dispute, with the potential of violence. I'm sure they parted upset but through this adversity came twice the missions work that would otherwise have not taken place. Paul and Silas took off and Barnabas and Mark took off. Two teams now in place doing ministry for the Lord. By the way don't lose any sleep, Mark and Paul work out things and Paul actually sends for Mark in Colossians. All ends well but God uses our differencs to build us in ways we never thought possible. He is with us through it all and teaches us to rely fully on Him. So next time adversity hits take a different look at it and wait in wonder at what God will do to glorify Himself. Till next time P.M.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bridges week two

Last week I gave an overview of our new series entitled "bridges". This series on Sunday morning along side our spiritual gift study Sunday nights and our small groups that meet throughout the week are the beginning of a major transformation. We read in Acts the importance of the 1st century church and the adding daily to the numbers of those saved. What better way than to do it together. Here is the challenge. Each of us bring to the table a predisposed idea of what "church", should look like. This view has been formed from childhood and the many avenues that we experience, read about and hear about. The problem with this is, what did the first century church look like? Meeting daily not every once in a while. Maybe your one of the "dedicated" ones who is there most every week, yet looking at the first century church we all fall short. Imagine the excitement and joy they experienced as they lived life together in Christ. That is why last weeks focus in our small groups was celebration. This weeks will be love and that my friends is what sets us apart from an unbelieving world. So where are you in all of this? Ready to celebrate and love one another the way Christ intended? This is why we will be discussing, "bridging the gap", for the next two weeks. This week will be bridging diversity, we are all so different yet interconnected, how does that work? The week after will be bridging adversity and we'll look at the reasons and the reconciles. Hope you'll join us as we seek to become the mirror of Christ. Till next time, keep it in the word and don't forget to utilize the devotionals. If you would like one sent to you or make comments please let me know. P.M.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

bridges, week one

Building relationships in doing Gods evangelism and service or bridGes as we've come to call it is our newest six week series that begins today, (technically Sunday at 11). We will be using Acts 2:41-47 as our steering wheel and will be looking at additional scriptures and precise examples of the weeks sermon. For example todays question is, "Are you living out the gospel daily? No really, are you? A good example of this is the prophet Elijah who is sent to a widow. He asks her for a drink and while she is going to get water for him, he decides that he would like some bread as well. Hey could you bring me some bread cakes, he asks. You can almost see her heart drop as she turns and looks at Elijah and explains that she has very little oil and wheat left, in fact she was just getting a little firewood to cook up the last of what she had for her and her son. Here is the cool thing. Elijah looks at her and tells her it will be alright. Not just tonight but for as long as God wills. God networked these lives together by providing for the needs of both and being honored the whole time by the faith of Elijah. Most of us complain if we miss a meal, let alone if we have no promise of anything yet to come. Elijah,s Until it dried up of course, but still he had faith and lived it out. Decide in your heart today to trust God and live out the gospel every day. Till next time, keep it in the Word P.M. By the way this Sundays bridGe is, bridge to eternity. Everyone of us must face this bridge at some point in our life and decide to take the bridge or trudge through the treacherous pass of no escape.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spiritual Gifts

Just a reminder that we will begin our 6 week Sunday evening study on Spiritual Gifts. This should be an awesome time to dig into the Word of God and see things as never before. Many of us have been through this kind of study many times but this time will be different. For instance the terminology we use is so confusing. We think of the "miraculous gifts", speaking in tongues, healing, etc as charismatic, but by definition the very word charisma in Greek means gifted. Why is it we call these specific gifts the "miraculous" gifts? Aren't they all pretty miraculous? Or why is it the assesments we take range in how many gifts there are? What is the difference between a talent, gift and skill if any? These are just a few of the questions we'll be answering and with a group that comes from a diversified background and teaching I am sure the discussion will be excellent. For those who aren't able to come we'll try to keep the highlights on this blog. Don't forget to bring your neighbors, coworkers and relatives! Keep it in the Word. P.M.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

to the church of......wk 4

We did it! Today we finished out our 4 week series looking at the 7 letters to the churchs in Revelation. Of course they are located in modern day Turkey and Christians there today face serious persecution. Today we looked at Philadelphia and Laodicea. Two complete opposites, Philadelphia being a church that Jesus commends for their deeds and standing firm, Laodicea is the exact opposite and recieves no good comments only bad. All along I have stressed the importance of accurately evaluating our modern church, in particular whatever "local" church we are part of. What is it that Jesus would say to you? I believe that the church today faces the same battles of the 1st century church. Many have become weary of the fight and have looked for "common" ground. I guess if the thought is we can combine forces and conquer, we better be determining what that common ground is. I'm sorry but if you deny Christ as deity we have no common ground. If you worship God and ----, we have no business partnering to do a "non-denominational" "everybodies welcome" type of service. I will not surrender my convictions based on someone elses passivity toward the word of God and I would pray that you would stand firm as well. Even though Jesus had nothing good to say about the church in Laodicea, He spared them and gave them the warning to repent and be zealous for God. Talk about your second chances. I look forward to moving from here to our next series entitled "Bridges". Connecting two points that are otherwish seperated by impassable obstacles. We also hope you'll join us for our Spirtual Gifts seminar beginning Sept. 16th at 6:30pm. A good time of fellowship and study for the sake of building the body and equipping the saints. Till we meet again, seek ye the kingdom. P.M.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

to the church in.....

There is so much to be learned from the seven letters to the churches found in the first few chapters of Revelation. Two weeks ago we set off to see what we could learn from these letters about our churches today, not to mention Gods personal encouragement and warnings. Last week we looked at two more churches, Smyrna and Pergamum, and although they were well known and very popular cities God sees past all that and gets straight to the matter. Ephesus left thier first love and Pergamum struggled with worldliness, but Smyrna didn't receive a repromand. Instead the Lord warned them of things to come. In the midst of things they were told it would get worse and that satan would send some to prison for 10 days. How encouraging, huh? Actually to be told by God that we are standing firm and to receive His encouragement is a great blessing. Pergamum on the other hand was facing persecution as well and in my estimation, pretty intense. Scripture makes it clear that satan "dwells" where those from Pergamum dwell. There is every reason to believe that satan made this his headquarters, at least for a time. This city struggled with worldliness, idolatry and adultry. Emperor worship was very popular and was punishable by death if refused. All in all it is an awesome study and my challenge is to consider what the letter written to our churches might say. I see the deeds, perseverance, BUT THIS I HAVE AGAINST YOU...... Till next time keep it simple and keep it central on Christ. Wishing you a great week and hope you are able to follow along. A special shout out to my buddies Josh and Darcy in North Dakota, miss you guys:-) till next time, keep it in the Word! P.M.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

To the church of . . . .

Do you resemble those in Thesalonica or those in Berea. That is probably an odd question to ask but as we flow through the pages of Acts chapter 17 it all begins to make sense. Thessalonica had several people that chose to follow the teaching of Paul and Silas and yet when some saw this they were offended and sought to arrest them. How crazy is that. For three sabaths Paul preached in the synogogue and was free to do so evidently. We see that some of those "brothern" snuck Paul and Silas out that they may safely go to Berea. When they arrived in Berea they were welcomed and the Bereans received the word with eagerness. They verified daily what Paul shared with them through the Scriptures and were eager to learn. So I ask you again, are you closer to the Thessalonians or the Bereans? Beginning today we will begin to discuss the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation and how they relate to todays church. join us as we begin this study soon. Till the next time. P.M.

Friday, August 10, 2012

preparing to cross the bridge

As I have been mentioning, this fall we will begin a new series called "bridges" and in order to prepare for that we will begin to look at what scripture has to say to the church. We will be examining the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation and gleaning what we can as to our church today. This should prove to be of great blessing and importance to prepare the way for us to cross the bridges we will be discussing. As we will see, man may think hes got it all figured out but as we'll see even the good things we're doing can come out of improper motivation and selfish desires. As we progress through the next several weeks we will update the blog with the main points for those that can't attend or we're unable so you can follow along. Till next time check out the letters to the churches in Revelation, and we'll be ready to go. P.M.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wow, what a summer! Just a few short weeks left and it will be back to school, and the next thing to look forward to is thanksgiving. We've covered a lot of ground and still have much to cover before we begin our "BRIDGES" series. We had a great baptism service with 9 people taking this step of obedience mandated from Jesus Christ. We had a great potluck and plenty of fellowship. As we journey on from here let us not forget the words found in Ephesians 4:29, Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. What a great scripture to remind us of the impact our words can have on others. It can serve to hold others accountable, challenge us, encourage us but also tear people down. Usually those who don't have the same ideals as we do. Our tuesday night small group has been going through the "respectable sins" book and as i prepared for tonights group the topic is frustration and sins of the tongue. ouch. If you don't have a copy of this book let me know or better yet just order one so you can remind yourself daily of the many things that creep in unnoticed and that we consider acceptable becuase we aren't out slashing people or going to the latest movie release and freaking out. Truth is sin is sin and although we put an importance or numeric value on them the truth is they are all failure of the law. Thankfully we are forgiven in Christ and although we still sin, God is merciful on us. For those of you who decide youd rather try to live up to the law, you will be judged by the law so good luck with that. For those of us who are secure in Jesus loving arms, lets use our mouths to build up the body. Pick someone today and build them up in Christ. Not just once but multiple times and watch the way it changes thier outlook on things. Till next time, keep it in the Word P.M.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baptisms and Blessings

Wow what a response to our recent teaching and invitation to join us in a baptismal service. We have several folks that have expressed interest in baptism out of obedience to the Lords direction. Don't forget to meet us at Camp Gladtidings at 6pm this coming Sunday and we'll enjoy time of fellowship, food, testimony, and baptism. If your still interested its not to late to be included, just let me know. I would just remind you that baptism is simply an outward expression of an inward decision. Salvation has no salvation properties and is merely a symbol of our death unto Christ, burial and resurrection with Christ. See Romans chapter 6 for a more detailed explanation by Paul. Looking forward to worshipping with ya. P.M.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Well last week we finished strong our suffering servant series and are moving forward to discuss baptism. Most of us have had an upbringing that gives us a certain "bent" toward a way of viewing baptism. For instance if you hold to catholic doctrine you would believe that their is a regenerative value to baptism. If you were brought up protestant in a Lutheran church you were probably baptised as an infant and confirmed as a youth or maybe even as an adult. This coming week we will take an in depth look at what scripture has to say not what man has been teaching based on traditions handed down. Remember it was the reformation period when Luther maintained salvation is by faith alone and caused a great stirring among the catholics. I was not brought up in a church, weird for a pastor to not have childhood memories of church life, and it has proved to be both a blessing and a curse. I don't carry the traditions that many individuals cling so tightly to which makes it difficult to see the trees through the forest, as the saying goes. But I also find it difficult to sympathize with those who feel that the way they have also been taught is the right way and everything else is heresy. Baptism and communion of course are the two ordinances, or sacraments if you rather, that our Lord Jesus left us with. This week will be begin to discuss the history of baptism, who should be baptized and what are some of the different views that are held. I think you'll find this very fascinating and fulfilling. By the way if you've yet to be baptized a believers baptism or are uncertain what this is all about let me know and we'll visit. Our baptism service will be coming up in a week or two and we've already got some folks ready to make a declaration. building the kingdom one soul at a time. P.M.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Suffering Servant, a study in 1st Peter

Well its been a while since I have updated and find ourselves in a series in 1st Peter. We have already covered a lot but didn't have the time to really go into the term sprinkling found in 1:2. As I have discussed previously this is an Old Testament term referring back to the sacrificial system that had been put in place. If we were to go back to Exodus and Leviticus you would see plenty of examples of blood being sprinkled on the altar, around the altar, on people and anything that was being declared holy, or set apart for God. One instance is the utensils for the service of the altar. As Peter spoke through this letter to many churches, remember this was a circulatory letter, it would be clear even to the non-Jew the practice of the Jewish faith. Peter here gives a New Testament parallel for the people that they have been chosen and set aside for the Lord and are, through the blood of Jesus, sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit. What an awesome transition to consider as you ponder your faith in Christ. Why not shoot me a note today and share with me what it is you are most thankful for. Until next time, serve the King!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

claiming the prize

As we wind down to the last few chapters in Joshua it is important to stay alert. Many times after victory we become laxed and passive and forget to stay involved. Of should I say, choose to not be involved. We see in Joshuas final charge to Israel, that he is along in years and drawing near to death, but the incredible thing is that he isn't done yet. Joshua declares that as for he and his Lord". In this are two very distinctive points. First that they will submit to God and His will for thier lives and also obey. He has a proper perspective and will continue to serve the most high with his family. This brings us to the second point that Joshua has invested in his family and raised them to be spiritually attentive. Although this was primarily directed toward Israel, you can also make the same choice, to follow or to not. So what will it be? Wholeheartedly follow Jesus or by default to deny Him and live for yourself. You make the choice.
Till next time.

Friday, March 9, 2012


When it comes to deceit and lies we've all been both the recipient and the giver. In Joshua chapter 9 the Gibeonites weave an elaborate string of lies to save their own lives. Some argue that this is not sinful because they are showing their submission to God's chosen. If that logic applies than think of the free reign that we would be given to lie and decieve one another, all for the purpose of good. One cannot read throught the pages of Joshua without seeing instances of deciet that seem to be rewarded. Note the word seem in that last sentance. But what is really cool about chapter 9 is the way Israels leaders, including Joshua, respond when they find out the Gibeonites lied to them. They didn't try to back out or make excuses they simply held to thier covenant to not kill them. They were made slaves to Israel and became "hewers of wood and drawers of water". Let me ask you today what it is that you need to keep your word on even though the you agreed by terms that were false or inaccurate? Do the hard thing and honor your word today and God will be pleased and honored. Till next time, keep it in the WORD.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What would you give up for someone?

As we prepare our hearts for communion as many of us will be observing the first week in March, it is important to reflect not only on the actual death and resurrection, but the COST. It is said that the cost of discipleship is staggering, but of course this isn't usually referring to the financial investment into a student, so to speak, but rather the emotion, and effort, and heartache that accompany the discipleship process. No matter the difficulty of what youve experienced it paled in comparrison to Jesus. He poured into His disciples as much truth and teaching as He could get into a 24 hour period of time and all the while knowing that the Father would turn His back. God the Father, forsook God the Son, and this was almost unbearable for Jesus as we read in the gospels. Jesus was giving it all up and knew that He would be beaten and bruised, crucified and placed in a tomb. It was the darkest of times the world has ever known and yet one of the most celebrated in History. By celebrated, I mean remembered and reflecting as we are instructed to until the Lord returns. God loved you enough to give you His Son!, If someone loves you that much how can you question if they will give you anything else. Still not sure? Can I have your child? even if you know it is for destruction?
If you loved me that much to give me your own child then I doubt you would withhold thier toys, should I ask for them. At what cost are you willing to make the Son of God know.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My "Achan" breakin heart.

What a great time I have had pouring through these pages in Joshua, both personally and teaching it. As we wind down on the capture and destruction of Jericho we see a reminder of just how easy it is for us to do things on our own effort. As I see it we have three options as we proceed through life. 1 is to make a plan and hope for the best, 2 is to make plans to the best of our ability and ask God to bless our plans, and 3 is to seek God and then do what He tells us to. In chapter 7 it is revealed that Joshua sends a group of 3000 men to Ai, a small town of probably around 12,000 total population, and end up with 36 dead soldiers and a hasty retreat. The result of not seeking God but doing his own thing. Had Joshua sought God before going out to battle, he would have known that God had not given over the city of Ai because of dishonest and corrupt behavior on the part of Achan. Two quick points here. Never underestimate that your sin effects others and will have consequences. secondly whenever your faced with trusting God or man, in this case two spies, pick God. Seriously why would it even be a matter of choice when there is only one choice.
No "Joshin", you need to choose wisely whom you will follow. The final point I want to shine on is how quickly God forgives and blesses when WE have the proper attitude and deal with it instead of hiding it.
What is it you need to make right with God this week?
In your corner

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Living by Faith

This week we will be discussing chapter 6 of Joshua which is well known for the battle of Jericho, the walls coming down, Joshua's victory and most everything but what the main point is about. Truth is it is a completion to chapter two. Yes Joshua has victory and yes Rahab is safely brought out, but what about God and what about Rahab and Joshua's faith? Seems like we overlook it pretty quickly with the focus on the physical. Remember the preincarnate Christ with sword drawn in chapter 5, encouraging Joshua that He would win the battle for Israel not any tricky military strategy. And have you ever "wondered" why the red cord isn't mentioned when Joshua sends the spies to get Rahab out? (o.k., I'll give you this one early this one time. It was the only part of the wall that did not collapse. makes it pretty easy to figure out which house was hers huh?) Chapter 6 is full of faith, but did you realize that the word faith is only found four times in the O.T. and each time is a different Hebrew word, and none are found in Joshua, let alone chapter 6? This seems to defy the rules of Bible study. Normally you look for repeated words to get an idea of what is important and I would still encourage you to do just that, but in this case if that were all we did, we may miss the point altogether. This week read through Joshua 6 and come back again for the extra points for deeper study.
Till then keep in the Word!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Born to Lead

Joshua is an awesome testimony to God's faithfulness!! This weeks extra point is found in Joshua chapter 5 verse 14, where Joshua just has an encounter with the preincarnate Christ, one of four in the Old Testament. The Lord corrects Joshua's presumptuous attitude that this stranger was either for them or against them and says, "no, i come now as the captain of the Lords host". In other words, if you want to join me that's fine but you are actually on my team not vise verse. Joshua instantly drops in reverence. Have you ever asked why? Doesn't Joshua give up the battle pretty easily for some stranger that has his sword drawn and says he has his own team? The reason is fascinating. Look carefully at the words that are used. The Lord uses the word "Yeh-ho-vah" which is the Jewish national name for God. Joshua was introduced to the Lord in a way that would have sent shivers down his back. Even more interesting is the term that Joshua uses, Ad-o-noy. This is the big term only referencing God. Big G only, no little g's. Now this can be quite confusing because one translation, (I won't pick on anyone with specifics), actually translates the word Adon, which is a root of ad-o-noy. The root could mean either man or deity and is somewhat ambiguous. If you look at the context you see the Lord tell Joshua to get his air Jordan's off because he is on "holy ground". No angel would allow worship for themselves or accept it, unless on the enemies team, and we see an example of this in Revelation when John bows down to worship an angel and the angel says don't do that worship only God. If you wish to further study this you will find even more amazing truths such as the word servant Joshua uses would more accurately be translated as slave. Study out other areas that use the same words and the ways they are used and compare different translations. I would look at a parallel between NASB, KJV, NIV and NLT. ESV is a good one as well. Comparing these versions will demonstrate the reliability of the text in each translation and through this study you will see how much the Old Testament flows together. That my friends is a Moses moment. Till next time stay in the word and continue to praise the God that made you and sustains you.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Consecration before Conquerring

As I prepare for service on Sunday I remind us of the great promises God has made to Israel regarding the promised land. We have looked back into Genesis at several of the texts describing the land and speaking as though it is already the nation of Israels. We know that generation one was fearful and was punished to 40 years of wandering. We also know that generation two was faithful and trusted God. We can contrast the difference in many ways but in chapter three and four we see a three fold breakdown. I phrase it like this, faith in word, faith in action, and faith in witness. These three things go hand in hand and as scripture says faith without deeds is like a body without a soul, dead. Take some time and look over these two chapters before service and it'll make even more sense.
Oh yeah and if you study out the Jordan you may be disappointed in the pictures you see. It is estimated that it flows at only 2% of its original volume. There has been a considerable amount of diverting for domestic and agricultural needs that leaves the water running low. In fact the dead sea, its end destination, has lost 1/3 of its historic area, and loses about a meter a year. In Joshua's day it would have been around 100 feet wide around Jericho, and as it mentions it was in flood stage leaving Israel with about a mile width to cross the Jordan. Happy studying and see some of you on Sunday. For those that read and don't attend watch for sermons online coming soon. thanks

Monday, January 23, 2012

How strong is your faith?

It's been a while since I have posted and have many changes coming. As we get settled in we are teaching through the book of Joshua. We will begin to put extra info for deeper study on this blog from our morning worship services.
We will also have a forum for questions that you would like to see answered and common questions I get. Should be fun, so submit your questions and maybe we'll see yours here!

We are in the second chapter of Joshua and just want to make a couple of points. Rahab is mentioned three times in the N.T. and one of those times is found in the genealogy in Matthew chapter one. She meets the spies sent secretly by Joshua, although they were found out, and negotiates here safety with them when they return. She acknowledges the God of Israel and in Hebrews her faith is accounted as righteousness. Here are a few of the questions that would be well worth your additional study.
  1. Is it ok to lie if it is for a good reason, like saving two spies lives?
  2. We know that Rahab faced the same consequences as all Jericho, so why did God choose her?
  3. When Rahab was questioned by the guards, she responded, "yes, the men came to me," which indited her to knowing these men and confirmed that the kings report was accurate and precise. Why is this significant?
  4. When the spies tell Rahab to hang a scarlet cord, thread, in her window what similarities do we see from the death angel in Egypt during passover? Also the parting of the sea and the parting of the Jordan coming up in the next couple chapters. 
That should be enough for now, and I will help you out with the first one. Deceit and lying is an abomination to the Lord. there are no "qualifiers" or "exceptions" we see in scripture. (proverbs is full of supporting scripture.) We are also in the process of becoming more Christ like and in order to do that we are to take on His characteristics. According to Titus 1:2 God cannot lie and therefore we shouldn't either. Do you believe God is sovern and can control the outcome regardless of our actions? I do to and for that reason Rahabs deceit and lies are sinful. The focus and reason she is mentioned in Hebrews 11 is for her faith. Part of that reason is because there was a law code of Hammurabi that specifically addressed a harlot hiding people without reporting them to the palace. They were to be put to death. Also look at all the examples of those in scripture who have lied or deceived. We may be able to understand why someone would lie to save these two lives, but that does not make it acceptable before a Holy God who is already in control. Keep digging and you'll find out even more. In the mean time lets trust God to move us through each day and rely on Him not on our own devices.
Catch ya soon.