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Saturday, March 17, 2018

You are probably like me
I bet there’s a thousand questions you would love  to ask Jesus.

I’ll tell you one  Id love to ask Jesus, why did  he save us? 

Not how  because we know how 
by grace
We know how
By the way of the cross and resurrection
Christ Saves
By grace through faith alone in Christ alone
..but why?

Now I know
Jesus saved us because he loved us, so we could love him.And we love him because he first loved us.
 But what did he save us for?

Listen to these words of Christ found in John. Chapter 10
. 9I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.

Now For sure this passage of scripture points out that Christ refers to himself as the singular way. He is the Gate. 
Not one of the many Gates.
For there’s no other name by which we can be saved.
We celebrate that all who enter will be saved, because Jesus said in John 6:37 that all the father give him shall come to him and he will no wise caste them out.

Jesus saved us to live life to the full.
But my question is do we have this abundant life he spoke of in verse 10?

Do we have this life to the full? Does our cup runneth over?
Overflowing with our connection to the almighty God 
Overflowing  because we recognize the most creative power of the universe,  has come to live inside us.
the original artist who paints his creation in beauty, and conducts nature in sight  and sounds as a musical symphony.
He is the author of the story of life, the inventor of light and love, who owns the universe and wanted
To come to live inside of us.
So there’s a world full of his glory, 
 But even a universe of wonder and majesty that cannot define or quantify his glorious presence.
If we don’t have an abundant life who can we blame?

, dare  we blame the thief after all we were warned by the word what his intentions were
To kill steal and destroy.

That only leaves Us and God and he has stated his purpose. He came to give us life to the full.
If we don’t have an abundant life, it is our fault 

Those of us that belong to Jesus need to look a little harder at verse 9. 
Its says that those who enters through Jesus will be saved.

And that one who is saved, he will come in and  he will go out and find pasture.
Could it be we miss the pasture not because we we wouldn’tcome in but rather that we refuse to go out?”
We miss being fed the good stuff because we simply want to come in without having to go out. 
We were never given an option.

Jesus saved us to go out.
a exercise 

Can I suggest to us that by coming in and going out Jesus doesn’t mean coming in the church singing three songs, throwing a twenty in the offering plate and that by going out to find pasture 
he doesn’t mean racing out the church parking lot to see who can be first at Radd dews?

Jesus saved us to serve him

John 12 jesus 
26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Each week churches across the country gather to praise God, learn the Bible, and a vase majority never find a place to serve him. 
According to an article I read on the subject a whopping 75% of the church goers never do anything other than show up to church

Can we be honest?
When you see people struggling in their faith,  more often than not they aren't serving anyone but themselves. That leads to misery 
God created human beings with the need to be needed. 
Intelligent life needs a purpose.
And God provides us a purpose 
To serve him.
 Even before the fall, God purposed Adam  to serve him  he was to work and keep the Garden. To name the animals, rule the animals 
Work was never part of the curse. 

It was the pain was added to work.
Adam was created in God’s image, to serve God, to work, for a purpose before he handed satan the world.

You know what the top recommended  solution for loneliness and depression is ? According to psychology today. Keeping busy at meaningful task.
To do something that matters
Working is essential life unless you want to be miserable. 

Now if you know God, then you know this life matters little compared to the next.
So for you to do something that matters means you might have to aim higher than others who don’t know him to be satisfied.

Do something.

use the talents God give you to serve God
Most people want to do something big.  Sing or preaching 
Ok but 
Small things matter to God
Write a letter, visit someone, 
Sometimes small things are really big things
Can you bake a cupcake?
Ginna cup cake $5000 this year.
The point is do something because it does you good to serve God

God created us to serve and when we don't we will be unsatisfied.

Jesus saved us for a purpose

There is a connection to our abundant life, to our going, our serving

Jesus’s parable of the gate is echoed by James when he said
Faith without works is dead 
A church without works is a
Buzzard Church. 
They know the songs and verses but They never do anything....
here’s a video that reminds me of buzzard church.
Buzzard church committee.
Wants a lively scene....

 Miserable bunch aren’t they?
Let’s do something!!!!

James 2
15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what goodb is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Its dead and christ died to save us to live abundantly,

A dead faith
Never went out to the pasture.
A dead faith 
It doesn’t reveal a changed life to yourself or to the world.
Thats why 49% of people in this country don’t believe church is having a positive effect on society.

Jesus saved us to work .

The speech making is over
They need fighters now.

We need doers not just hearers
James tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only.
We we need dynamic doers rather than dynamic speakers.
Christ gracefully reveals himself to most people through the collective efforts of his people. 

We were predestined not only to our salvation but we were predestined to our good works. 

Turn to Ephesians 2

8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We were saved by grace, by the workmanship of Jesus .

What were we created in Christ Jesus for ?good works
And we should walk in them....
Our walk as we call it
If it is truly with Jesus, won’t there be good works?
Works do not give us salvation but they are the result of salvation and the evidence of faith

Jesus saved us to glorify the father. John 15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”  

Matthew 5 Jesus tells us
14You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus told us to shine

Ought to be easy enough 
We were made in the image of the inventor of light and he lives inside of those who belong to him,

We come to church to learn about a glorious God.
Who paul said
2 Corinthians 5:21
21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

If he loves us so much he traded our sin for his righteousness we ought to have a life overflowing.
We have a purpose to serve 
A reason to work on shining to bring him glory.

Do you shine? 
You know as an electrician i can tell you there’s only 2 reasons a  a light won’t shine. 
When a bulb blows there’s something inside that needs to be fixed. Jesus can fix that. He can fix whatever is wrong on  the inside. 

The other reason it won’t shine is it isn’t hooked to the power source? Jesus can fix that too. 

Are you shining for Jesus ?
Are you shining to light the way for others to glorify God?
I hope so. 
We can all stand to burn a little brighter. Can’t we?

We are going to sing, and lets worship Jesus in song.

If you hear him calling in the darkness, 
come to Jesus and live 

Come to jesus and shine!

Friday, January 12, 2018

5 Biblical Responses To Bullying

I don't do subtitle. I hate it when there’s a problem and the preferred solution is to pretend there isn’t one . I’ll sacrifice pleasantries most any time to get to the point.
 Bullying is a REAL problem. No, it’s not a new problem or a bigger problem. It’s just a different world with new minds with a new problem that complicates the old Bullying problem.
I know, cause I’ve been on both sides of this. I am ashamed of been on either side because  it means I believed lies and told them. I offer my apologies.

On this subject, I’ve read and listened to everyone from teachers to psychologists chiming in. Meanwhile, crickets are chirping louder than those who should teach the righteousness to cry out to the Lord. Pastors should attack this as any other sin.

(I am committed to teaching a biblical response and practical application of God’s word on this subject for healing, survival, and redemption. While this post is written primarily to a mature audience, It can be modified to impact teens.  Contact me, if I can help you or your organization)

I remember saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” , before I knew Proverbs 18:21 says that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We all have misunderstood and misused this power.
Words can hurt. Words can kill.

At the risk of sounding like the Water Boy or Forest Gump, My mama says, “never point out a problem without offering some sort of a solution.”
While I cannot,  here’s 5 things in God’s word that does.

1.Teach your kids and yourself of the intrinsic worth of all people. Every person we have ever met, including the one in the mirror, was fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the one who made them. Though we have all corrupted that image, we mustn’t forget who owns everyone. We must not have the audacity to have contempt for His work. SEE

2 Never forget God sees differently than people.

1 Samuel 16:7
....For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Before us may be a farmer, a poet, a musician, a warrior, or even a king. Perhaps, even all of these rolled up into one. It might be that guy, or it could be you. Only God knows... for now. 

3 Be careful what you think and  say. 
Jesus said, what comes out of a man defiles him and we will give an account for every word. We can’t make your fire burn hotter by peeing someone else’s coals. Never try to make yourself feel better by tearing down the spirits of another.

Proverbs 15
26The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

4 Be different. Not just different, but make a difference. Change your mind.
Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 Its a rare, beautiful thing in this world to reach across the aisle to those who need love. Especially, when it comes from those who you have rejected or those who have rejected you . No matter what part in this mess we’ve played , learn to love like Jesus. Remember Christ called out for to the Father for the forgiveness of those who crucified him. Because He was perfect, He responded perfectly to bullying.

5 Change
Over and over the Bible says change. 

Ephesians 4
22to put off your old self,f which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

In general people don’t like change. Most southern people, like myself, ain’t going down that road of change peacefully. Even if it means we lose touch with reality, so long as we don’t make waves, we can live at peace. All we have to do is pretend the world is the same place it used to be.
One problem with that philosophy for Christians is following our savior requires us to embrace the truth. And the truth is, this world is radically different from the world that us parents grew up in.  It’s not a brave new world. Though it’s a different world, it is the some old lost and dying one. Only this age has a new problem. It doesn’t fear the creator nearly as much as it used to. Therefore, it isn't wise and it doesn't love like it used to.

Christ has always instructed us to change, not just ourselves but change the lives for others. Christians should lead in combatting the evils that come with bullying.

 Most people might agree on what the problems are, but spend so much time debating solutions, nothing gets done. Let’s change that.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thank God for Sledgehammers

This Thanksgiving,
I’m very thankful for sledgehammers. I’m not just referring the kinds they sale at the hardware store. I’m talking about the metaphorical figurative ones. 

Back in the day, our youth leaders used hammers for an illustration of proper Christian behavior. Eloquently, they explained hammers have a side for building up and a claw to tear down. “Christians should be in the building up business.” I’ve never forgotten the truths in this lesson.

Over the years, I’ve  discoveredafew more, harder learned 
truths. The truth about the Truth is one of those.
The world would have us believe every word must be co mmunicated in a fluffy coating of powdered sugary sweetness. Never mind it might be dripping from the tongue of the devil himself. Truth is, you can deliver truth, nice and sweet, only to have, those who don’t want it, claim you sent it laced with poison and delivered it on a wrecking ball.

Christians should be good hammers. We should build up people, but building takes time. Construction is often painful sometimes even deadly. It is a labor intensive cooperative affair .

During construction, it’s incredible how much tearing apart, and breaking down, goes into building something. 

No matter if we remodel or began a new construction, the greater the building, the more tearing down will be involved in the process. The builder will pick up a sledgehammer and separate the useless pieces of the design to carry the project forward. Occasionally, he will break away concrete to correct the problems buried beneath the hard exterior. Eventually, much as the artist breaks stone, he will reveal the finished work. 

God said to Jeremiah 
"Is not My word like fire?" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer which shatters a rock? (23:29)

God sometimes uses people as sledgehammers. A great example is Peter’s reaction to Simon the Sorcerer. 
Trust me, Peter was all out of powered sugar that day.
He was a sledgehammer.
God’s sledgehammers tear down walls.
Once torn down, it reveals a separation of the beautiful truth of His Word from the hideous truth of man’s destructive damnable faith in themselves. Once out of the way, the construction can proceed.
Christ would be broken, so we might build upon a firm foundation.
While the foundation is perfect, as we who are not, work together, let us encourage those laborors,
who focus on the finished product, rather than how dirty the process can be.

So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, "It is good"; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter. 
                    Isaiah 41:7

Construction isn’t something most would want to listen to.
Sledgehammers breaking things into pieces
doesn’t sound anything like Beethoven’s 9th in D minor ( Ode to Joy) Then again, Ludwig wasn’t in the construction business. Construction is the culmination of unpleasant sounds to produce a complicated structures, built to endure the world’s harsh elements.
God has shown me to trust His process and His truth, regardless of unique and sometimes unpleasant tone, He created His messengers to deliver it with.
I’m indebted to those, Who were bold enough, to chip away the stones with ultimate truth of His Word and continue to do so. 
A word that reminds me 

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6

With this truth in mind,
Occasionally, reluctantly, I’ve been the sledgehammer.
Being an instrument of truth doesn’t offer instant gratification. To be honest, Most truth doesn’t offer any. 
Often, it’s a source of depression. Just like no one want to use a sledgehammer, no child of God enjoys being one.  Occasionally, someone will come and thank you for allowing God to use you in breaking down their walls. You’ll tearfully recollect the pain you underwent doing the unpleasant job you know God called you to do, but rejoice when you see the finished work of the changed lives. You’ll recall a moment, when God punched a hole in your wall, with someone and it came down and changed your life for the better. And then you’ll praise God for His Sledgehammers.

Has God ever called you to be a Sledgehammer?

Who has been your Sledgehammer?