Sermons 8

June 19, 2016

One Short Life        James 4:13 - 17

There's a story about a man by the name of Dwight Morrow. He was a distinguished American lawyer, banker, and diplomat in the late 1800s. One day, getting off the train in New York, he rushed into the telegraph office and wired to his secretary: Why am I in New York? What am I supposed to do?

Think about that”here was one of America's premier business and legal leaders getting off a train to New York, having no clue what he was there for! His secretary promptly wired him back: You are on your way to Princeton to deliver a lecture. Hurry!!!

Sad to say, like Morrow, millions of people wander through life with no earthly idea what they're here for.

It's fascinating to me how the Bible often compares people to sheep. After watching them for a while, you can see why. 
Sheep, by their nature, live only for the moment. 
Their line of vision is never more than the next clump of grass. 
They just chew a clump, and then go to the next clump. 
Slowly they get further and further away from the fold. 
Without a shepherd they would wander off, with no direction or purpose.

People are like that. Often we live for the moment; for the next clump of grass of pleasure; having no direction or purpose; not knowing what we're here for.

God's Word tells us what we're here for. The Bible tells us we were created for the purpose of bringing glory to God.

* In Isaiah 43:7 we read everyone who is called by my name I created for my glory,

Why are we here?”To bring glory to God through our lives. 
If that is true, then everything we do ought to be done for the glory of God. 

No wonder Paul commands us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “ whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

God has put us on this earth to glorify Him, and we do that by loving Him with all our hearts, fellowshipping with Him, and serving Him. 

And we can only do that by trusting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and then letting Him guide and rule our lives.

When we come to the end of our short lives and face eternity, the important thing will be what we have accomplished for the Lord and His kingdom through His power working in and through us.

Time is lent to us to be used at God's service It is precious, short, passing, uncertain, then it's gone. There is a poem called The Clock of Life which speaks to that: 

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To say just when the hands will stop;
At late, or early hour.

Now is the only time we own
To do His precious will,
Do not wait until tomorrow;
For the clock may then be still.

Paul said in Philippians 1:21 “ For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Let me ask you a question: Is that your testimony? 
Can you honestly say for to me to live is CHRIST, and to die is GAIN? 

If we're honest, then it might actually be
* For to me to live is pleasure, 
* Or For to me to live is my popularity or man's acceptance, 
* Or For to me is live is my job, 
* Or For to me to live is money, or material things.

We need to live our lives with such a commi'ent to God and His Kingdom that we can honestly say in our heart of hearts, For to me to live is CHRIST, and to die is gain. Because we have stored up treasures in heaven.

Remember you only have one life to live and life is short”only a tiny speck of time in the light of eternity. Remember the verse we read a few minutes ago? James 4:14: What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

When you are cooking you can see a vapor or steam coming out of the pan but it doesn't fill the room It's there one moment and poof!”it's gone.

Stephen Olford, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, says: One day I received a letter from my father, in which he said, Son, of most importance is this fact: ˜Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last.' He said: It was like a hammer blow. I was shattered. I could see my life before my Maker as a shriveled-up piece of waste.

I just looked into the face of my Lord by faith and said, I give in. No more rebellion. I have been a fool. I have tried to run my own life and have made an awful mess of it. I want to come back to you. I return in humility and in repentance. He goes on to say: a wonderful peace came into my heart. I yielded my life to Him and said, Lord Jesus, I want You to take over the reins of my life And He did!

One short life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last. If that's true”and it is”what should you do about it?

1. If you're not a Christian this morning, you need to be saved.
Don't waste another minute outside of Jesus Christ. 
You need to be saved today so you can make your days on this earth count for eternity. 

The Bible says in Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

That's why the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:2, now is the day of salvation.

2. If you're sure you are already a believer, you need to realign your life so that you are living with eternity's values in view. 
What changes do you need to make? 
What priorities do you need to set?

* Maybe you need to spend less time in front of the television or computer and more time in your Bible.
* Maybe you need to share Christ with friends, neighbors and co-workers.
* Maybe there is a bad habit you need to give up.
* Perhaps you need to start giving to God your time, talent and treasure.
* Maybe you need to spend more time with your family. “ You can't take your career to heaven, but you can take them to heaven with you.

I could give many other applications, but I think you get the idea.

The first modern missionary from America, Adoniram Judson, said this:

You have but one life in which to prepare for eternity. Had you four or five lives, two or three of them might be spent in carelessness. But you have only one. Every action of that one life gives coloring to your eternity. How important, then, that you spend that life so as to please the Savior.

Those are profound words. This life is the only one we will EVER have, so
* God help us to make it count for eternity.
* God help us to live our lives for the things that count.
*God help us to spend our time doing things that make a difference in God's kingdom 
Remember, One short life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last.

June 10, 2016

God Is In Control    Haggai 2:6, 7  20 - 23

There are many things in this world that we have absolutely no control over. The stock market is unstable, the economy is in recession and there is global turmoil.

Our national debt is over 19 trillion dollars, social security is in danger of going bankrupt. The cost of living is rising and wages are stagnant. Health care is un-affordable and jobs are scarce. ISIS is on American soil, our military men and women are in harm's way all over the world, and there are wars and rumors of wars.

North Korea is testing missiles and Iran is building nuclear weapons. Mass shootings are becoming commonplace and our country is becoming increasingly divided. 

We live in a world filled with trouble, turmoil, difficulty and uncertainty. It seems that things are bad and getting worse. Some of you may be dealing with personal issues... you may have problems with your children, bills that you can't pay, problems at work, marital troubles, health issues or any of a host of other situations and problems that consume your life.

Many times we are blinded by circumstance and often we forget who is really in control. When this happens, doubt enters our minds and fear begins to consume our lives. If that is the case for you, I come bearing good news, I want to remind you who is in control!

It is not the republicans or the democrats, it's not Trump or Hilary, our governor is not in control, congress is not in control, the Supreme Court is not in control, the President is not in control and the United Nations general assembly is not in control.

God Almighty (1) is, (2) always has been (3) and always will be in control! 

When you are tempted to fear remember that your Heavenly Father is supreme in authority! He is Omniscient, which means that He knows all. He is Omnipotent, which means He is all powerful. He is Omnipresent, which means He is everywhere at all times. 

Remember what Jesus said in - Matthew 10 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

What a comforting promise form our Savior. As we read the Book of Haggai we come to a passage of scripture that reminds us just Who is in control.

* In verses 20-22 that we read this morning from the book of Haggai we get a glimpse of God's sovereign plan. He tells Zerubbabel that the time is coming when He would shake the heavens and the earth and overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms.

There has been a lot of debate over what specific conflict God is referring to in this text. But what I would like for us to take away from this passage of scripture is the fact that God retains supreme power.

In every battle and conflict throughout history, those past, present and future... God is, always has been and always will be in control! He is so powerful in fact that He can even use His enemies to accomplish His sovereign will. 

Because God Is In Control: We Can Be Confident In God's Supreme Power - No matter what comes our way... no matter how bad things get, God's power will never fail. Consider the scope of God's Supreme Power:

1) He Has Power Over Nature “ We read that He can "shake the heavens and the earth".

2) He Has Power Over Rulers - Our text also said that God is able to "overthrow royal thrones" and "shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms "

He Has Power Over Nature “He Has Power Over Rulers and:

3) He Has Power Over Our Enemies - Romans 8:31 ...If God be for us, who can be against us?

We have no need to fear anything... for God is more powerful!

We have no need to fear Governments and rulers... for God is more powerful! We have no need to fear those who would come against us and persecute us... for God is more powerful!

Whatever comes our way we can be confident in God's supreme power! We can trust Him to see us through no matter how difficult the circumstance! 

Along with the fact that We Can Be Confident In God's Supreme Power is the fact that: 

We Can Be Comforted By God's Supreme Power - When you truly grasp that God is in control there is no need to fear anyone or anything. Many people have walked away from serving God because of fear.

Some have determined the task impossible and don't even attempt to move forward. When you come to the realization that the One Who has called you to the task has the power to see you through then there is nothing that can stop you from reaching your goal.

There is an old cliché that states "If God brought you to it, He will see you through it" 

Friends, we can be comforted in God's Supreme Power! We can trust that GOD IS IN CONTROL! 

God has a sovereign plan and He possesses supreme power...there is nothing that He can't do. But in His infinite wisdom, God chooses to use us to accomplish His sovereign plan.

We need to understand that God is not worried about world dictators, because the only reason they are in positions of power is that God allowed them to be. 

Job 12:23 states, He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. And then we read in

Psalm 22:28 , for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.

So, we see that there is no nation, president, dictator, or army that does anything outside of God's control. Now, this does not mean that we will understand why certain things happen.

There are obviously some things-such as police shootings and police being shot -that seem to defy explanation. However, we have the assurance of Scripture that even when we do not understand His plan-God remains in control of everything.

Because we know that God is in control, we can find peace in several assurances from the Father. Two quick thoughts

First, we find comfort in the fact that almighty God-who is in absolute control of everything-is intimately and continually involved in our individual lives every single day.

God never stops providing for, protecting, watching over, and caring for each of us. And, because He is sovereign and all knowing, He knows exactly what we need for today and tomorrow.

Second, because God is sovereign, we have the assurance that He will work out every single circumstance in our lives for something good, no matter what.

It may be painful, hurtful, difficult, or seemingly impossible, but God can and will use that situation to achieve His divine purpose. 

Romans 8:28 makes this clear, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. This claim makes sense only when we realize that God is in complete control.

No matter what pain, trial, or tragedy comes your way, rejoice that your Father will be there to work it out for your good, no matter what.

May 22, 2016

Gossip        Select Texts

(Scripture Texts)

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. 

As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders all of them act corruptly.

Sermon

Last week as I was preparing for Bible Study I had a feeling that perhaps the topic I had chosen needed to be shared with more than the dozen of us at Bible Study.

So I pushed the save button on the computer and stored away this little gem until today and I went a different route with Bible Study. Well you may think it is more of a rock than a gem but todays topic is: gossip.

If we are honest most if not all of us would have to admit that we are guilty of gossip. Oh we don't call it that. It's just small talk, idle chit-chat, sharing a concern, visiting. But it's wrong and we know it.

It's no secret that God does not want us to gossip, slander or belittle others but we do at an alarming rate and many times it happens right here in the church.

Gossip can be true, partially true, or completely false. It can be motivated by good intentions, but it always contains negative personal information about another that puts them in a bad light.

Slander goes hand in hand with Gossip. The Bible teaches that slander is an accusation that injures a person's name and reputation. It's essentially character assassination”the act of smearing someone.

Gossip and slander color people's perceptions of an individual unfairly and unjustly without their knowledge or consent. One major component in both of these sins is that the person being torn down is out of the loop. Talebearers usually avoid speaking directly to the one they are demeaning.

I will admit that I have listened to gossip and even enjoyed it. I think most people who spread gossip are like me”the thought never occurs to them about how deeply a person and their family could be hurt when someone attacks their character without their knowledge.

So let's decide here and now as a church and as individuals That to the best of our ability, we will always evaluate people based on our first-hand experience with them, not on what someone else tells us about them.

Gossip and slander violate the Lord's own precept: "Treat others the way you want to be treated."

If anyone has suffered the agony of being gossiped about, they understand the force of those words. No one wants to be the subject of gossip or slander. There are few things so hurtful.

I can say I'm not going to eat at McDonalds as long as I stay in Keithsburg but get me headed down route 17 and my steering wheel pulls to the right as I approach McDonalds.

We say we don't like gossip, but when it's within reach, we almost can't resist it. We get a sudden appetite to know what we don't know about somebody else.

Why is it so hard to stop? Proverbs 18:8 says, The words of a gossip are like choice morsels...

Now, you might think. Not me. I'm not into sharing the dirty details about a person's life just for fun. But gossip comes in many flavors, and it involves listening as well. Proverbs 17:4 notes: Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander. Yikes!

Okay so slander is spreading rumors or lies about a person to cause damage purposely.

The bible mentions slander countless times Colossians 3:8 says: But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

James 4:11: Brothers, do not slander one another.

Something about us likes sharing the juicy info we learned about someone. Maybe the intent isn't to directly cause damage, but by keeping the gossip alive, it continues to spread and taint the image of the person it's about.

Proverbs 20:19 tells us that a gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.

James 5:9 says, Don't grumble against each other , or you will be judged 

You hear something, and it's not good, and it's also not confirmed as true. But you tell someone or ask someone else about it to get more info. The rumor mill turns and turns and the gossip spreads.

Proverbs 13:3 says, He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

Backbiting is a form of gossip that involves speaking spiteful or slanderous words about another who isn't present and can do nothing in their own defense.  The bible actually mentions it by name in Proverbs 22:23: The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.

How about this one from Proverbs 16:28: A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

And a warning from the bible: What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs (Luke 12:3).

One of the problems connected with gossip and slander is that they can seem innocent you don't have to be operating in malice to be guilty.

Again, the motive is irrelevant. Spreading negative or shameful information about another person is contrary to walking in love. Love "thinks no evil" (1 Corinthians 13).

What does gossip and slander usually sound like? It usually begins with something like, "Did you hear about such and such ." The rest of it goes on to put an individual in a shameful or negative light.

Whenever we hear gossip, we should consider these questions: Would I want someone talking about me like this? How would my family feel about this? My spouse, my mother, my father, my children, my best friends?

Satan's nature is to be the "accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12). In fact, the word Satan means "adversary," and the word devil  means "slanderer." That should speak volumes.

Gossip is like poison that once someone drinks, they cannot get out of their system. And it always separates people. Even close friends and loved ones.

Put another way, gossip not only damages the person being gossiped about, but it also damages the person hearing the gossip, because it causes them to judge the other unfairly.

So, the next time you hear a rumor, go to the person being talked about. Never spread something about another person without talking to them first and having an open mind to hear their heart.

Our words should be carefully chosen and designed to build up, not to destroy.

How Can You Avoid Gossip? Proverbs 26:30 tells us, For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.

Consider these simple steps to be sure you are not involved in gossip:

·         Do not associate with someone who is a known gossip.

·         When someone starts to gossip ” change the subject.

·         If you are not part of the problem or part of the solution, stay out of it.

·         If you have fallen into the bad habit of gossiping ” ask God to change your heart.

May 15, 2016

Leftovers      Mark 1:35-1:39

I am a person who doesn't mind eating leftovers in fact many foods taste better as leftovers. For example I think Potato Salad is always better the second day. But mashed potatoes are not!

And the day after Thanksgiving or Chris'as when you are exhausted from all the celebrating and eating that you did the day before it's ok to serve leftovers because you're too tire to do much else.

Now a lot of times leftovers are not as good as they were when they were served the first time but if anyone complains about it just show them where the stove and refrigerator is and let them cook. 

But Imagine if somebody important was coming to your house for supper. 

Most of us would never think about serving leftovers to a special guest. We would want the food we served them to be fresh and piping hot.

We would want to serve them the best meal we possibly could not warmed up leftovers. We would give our best to someone who is special to us!

The question is this: Are you giving Jesus the best you have to offer or the leftovers of your life?

One of the things we know about Jesus from the Bible is that He deserves the best we have and not simply the leftovers. This makes sense especially when we consider the fact that He gave the best He had to offer”Himself”in order to accomplish everything necessary for our salvation.

As we think about what it means to give Jesus our best it is important to know what the Bible has to say about what is the best we have to offer.

I want to talk about some areas of our lives where we can give Jesus the best we have and if we do we will find that something awesome will take place in our walk with Him.

In the verses we read together we saw that Jesus got up early and began His day in prayer.

Mark's gospel is unique because within just a few short verses we are taken to the public ministry of Jesus. The first few verses of Mark tell us about John the Baptist and then the calling of the disciples.

And then we read that while visiting the house of Simon, one of His newly called disciples, Jesus healed Simon's mother-in-law of a fever. When word gets out the entire town brings their sick and lame to Him to be healed.

Jesus, full of compassion and mercy for the afflicted, cured the sick, healed the lame and set free those who were possessed and oppressed by demons.

After such a busy time of ministry we find, Jesus begins the next day by going out to a solemn place to begin the day in prayer. We get a sense here that Jesus, knowing that there is much ministry to be done in the new day, viewed prayer and time with His heavenly Father as a necessity and not something to be taken lightly or ignored or pushed off until the end of the day.

We get this picture that time spent with the Father was necessary because that time served as fuel for the soul for the work to be done that day. 

We all need to begin the day with Jesus! Now certainly we can commune with God any time of the day or night but Jesus gives us an example that shows that there is something special about the first part of the day and If it is true that Jesus, the Son of God, made prayer a priority in His life, how much more does that reveal to us the priority that prayer should have in our lives?

If Jesus was strengthened through time spent in prayer with the Father for the day before Him how much more does this reveal just how much we should likewise give the first part of our day to time with Jesus so that we can receive fuel for our souls and strength for the day that lies ahead of us.

Beginning the day with Jesus is not just talking to Him in prayer but hearing from Him through His Word! Are we giving Jesus the best or the leftovers of our day?

Now I know that for many of us our day is already full. Even though we only have 24 hours in a day we live a 25 hours a day life. 

This means that we are going to have to prioritize. We are going to move some things around and make some sacrifices to say no to some things that are good in order to say yes to that which is best.

When something is important to us we will find a way. I know all too well how easy it is to come up with 1000's of excuses to ignore our time with God but when Someone is important to us then we will order our lives accordingly. 

So If the first part of the day is the best part of the day that we can give of ourselves to Jesus then let's think about the first day of the week.

Sunday is the first day of the week on our calendar and there is a lot of important stuff that has happened on the first day of the week. Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week. The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost on the first day of the week. A lot of important stuff has happened on the first day of the week.

It is no surprise then that the New Testament Church meets together for worship on the first day of the week. Historically the first day of the week has been called The Lord's Day.

Today I am going to ask you to make a commi'ent to make attending Church on the first day of the week a priority in your life if it's not already.

The author of Hebrews, writing to believers about this subject says  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another”and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Scriptures directly address those who do not make the regular gathering of believers a priority in their lives. What we do on a weekly basis as we gather is important for us.

We gather together to worship and adore Jesus because He is worthy. While individual worship is important and good for our souls, there is something about corporate worship that is encouraging to the soul knowing that there are others on this thing called a walk of faith.

This is why the Bible talks about fellowshipping with one another as believers. Being together encourages us for life when we are apart. Fellowship must be centered on worship whether it is in a service like this or around a meal in the fellowship hall otherwise it is just a gathering. 

The passage in Hebrews said that as we gather we are to encourage one another. When you show up here are you purposed to worship, to be equipped and to encourage somebody else?

The leftover approach to church attendance finds excuses come easily for not being here regularly. It is amazing how many excuses we make for missing church that would that we would never use for missing work!

We have some people who have already settled this Honestly we have some here who have better attendance here at church than I do and I get paid to be here!

Yes they go to the family reunion after church. Yes they are tired from working all week. But they are here.

I know I touched on this subject last week in my sermon on Faithfulness But I just felt like I needed to press the reset button yeah, things come up, people get sick, we get scheduled to work but we need to make spending time with God alone and as a church a priority.

I ask once again: Are you giving Jesus the best you have to offer or the leftovers of your life?

THE DIFFERENCE

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day. I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task. "Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered. He answered, You didn't ask,"

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn't show me. He said, "But you didn't seek.: I tried to come into God's presence. I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning and paused before enter the day. I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

May 8, 2016

Faithful         Ephesians 1:1- 7

Today I want to look at a name given to the Ephesians in our Scripture text. Paul addresses this letter to the faithful at Ephesus.

Faithful means someone who can be relied on.

Can you be described as faithful? As we begin talking about faithfulness I want to emphasize that you can never be saved by being faithful.

Faithfulness has nothing to do with earning salvation, because it is impossible to earn salvation. But once you become a child of God, God wants you to be faithful.

So let's talk about faithfulness in the lives of God's people

God expects us to be faithful and that expectation is rooted in His faithfulness. God's faithfulness is foundational to understanding His very nature. In fact, you cannot really come to a deep and abiding faith in God until you trust in His faithfulness.

The Marine Corps motto is, Semper Fidelis. The short version is Semper Fi. Semper Fidelis are two Latin words which mean, Always Faithful”which is the code of conduct and character of those in the Marine Corps.

Always faithful”is the perfect description of our God. God is always faithful; He always keeps His Word.

This is repeatedly emphasized in the Old Testament:
- In Psalms 36:5, David said, Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
- Psalms 89:1 says, I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever: with my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations. 
- But I like Lamentations 3:22-23 best It says: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God's faithfulness is also a recurrent theme in the New Testament:
- Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:9 “ God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Paul says, The one who calls you is faithful 
- Hebrews 10:23 says: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

OUR faithfulness to God is rooted in GOD'S faithfulness to us.

The Bible indicates that truly faithful people are difficult to find. Proverbs 20 verse 6 asks “ a faithful person who can find?

In Psalm 12:1 David exclaims: Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.

Jesus and Paul both taught much about faithfulness, because there was a lack of faithfulness in their day And today is no different
- People take on responsibilities, but are not faithful to fulfill those responsibilities.

- People take on the responsibilities of church membership by joining a church, but then become unfaithful and idle in their attendance, and service, in their local church.

Though faithfulness is a rare thing in our day, it's nevertheless required by God. In 1 Corinthians 4:2 Paul says, Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

Any person who will be used by God must learn to be faithful.

It's interesting to look at the people whom Paul praises in his letters. When mentioning them, he doesn't commend their public speaking skills, or their effectiveness, or their personality, or their wealth.

Usually it was their FAITHFULNESS that he pointed out .
- 1 Corinthians 4:17 “ For this cause have I sent to you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and FAITHFUL in the Lord, 
- Colossians 1:7 “ As you also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a FAITHFUL minister of Christ.
- Colossians 4:7 “ All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a FAITHFUL minister and fellow servant in the Lord:
- Colossians 4:9 “ With Onesimus, a FAITHFUL and beloved brother, who is one of you. 

Do you see the importance the Bible places on faithfulness in the life of a Christian? Why do these Bible writers place such emphasis on faithfulness of these servants of God? Because it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful

How do you recognize a faithful person? Interestingly, Jesus Himself tells us about a faithful person in Luke 16:10-12:

- First, a faithful person is faithful in little things “ Luke 16:10 “ Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much 

Has that person been faithful in the little areas he has been given? If he's been faithful in the little areas, then he'll be faithful in more important jobs later.

Another sign of a faithful person is that he is faithful with that which belongs to others “Luke 16:12 “ And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

I borrowed someone's car a few years ago when mine was in the shop. When I was finished with it, I ran it through the car wash, vacuumed it and filled it up with gas.

The next day the owners son said something like they should let me borrow it next time it needed to be washed!

A faithful man is faithful with other people's belongings.

What are some other ways in which we should be faithful?

- Well, of course we need to be faithful in our personal relationship with God.

We need to be faithful in a daily time of Bible study and prayer. The faithfulness in our devotional life pays big dividends as we try to live for the Lord and please Him. God loves for us to meet with Him and seek Him, and He blesses us for it.

- Next, we should be faithful in our families.

First, be faithful to your spouse.

Unfaithfulness is devastating to a relationship. The hurt, the sense of betrayal, the emotional damage that unfaithfulness causes in marriage causes scars that can be healed with God's grace”but it takes a long, long time to heal. Be faithful!

Parents, be faithful to lead your families spiritually. Faithfully lead your children by training them to do right. Faithfully lead them by setting the good example. Lead them by being faithful to church.

Husbands, be faithful to obey God's instructions to love your wife as Christ loved the church and to honor her. 

We hear that wives, are to be faithful to honor and respect their husband But if the husband is loving his wife as Christ loved the church there is a mutual respect.

Children and teenagers, be faithful to show the proper respect and honor to your parents and obey them as God commands.  Ephesians 6:1 says: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 

- Also we need to be faithful in our responsibilities to our local church.

Be faithful in church attendance “ Hebrews 10:25 “ Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Be faithful in your area of ministry “ 1 Corinthians 15:58 “ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Be faithful to fulfill your duties”Show up!; be on time; serve with a cheerful spirit; go the extra mile; do your best! Not so people will say how wonderful you are but so God and His church are praised.

The Bible abounds with promises of God's blessings upon those who are faithful.

Proverbs 28:20 says, A faithful man shall abound with blessings 

I don't know about you, but I want God's blessings in my life! But here it is”without faithfulness, you will never abound in those blessings. Abounding blessings are upon the faithful as a reward for your faithfulness.

In Psalm 101:6 the psalmist says, Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: 

Do you see it? God's eye is on you in a special way when you are faithful.
What does it mean to have God's eye upon you? If God is omnipresent and omniscient, doesn't God's eye see everyone?

Yes, of course. But you see, there is a difference between seeing someone and having one's eye on someone.

The difference can be illustrated like this: Suppose I'm walking down the street and I see you. I look at you and wave and then go on about my business.

Perhaps I even stop to talk to you. When I get home, I say to Marla, I saw so-and-so today. That's seeing someone.

Now, suppose on the other hand, I have my grandson and I take him with me down the street. As we walk, I'm constantly keeping my eye on him. I watch where he goes and what he does and I supervise him and I talk to him and am careful of his every action.

That's keeping my eye on someone!

When God's eye is upon the faithful of the land, it means that God gives His special care and attention to them.

I want that, don't you? I want to be faithful! And I want you to be faithful.

God is looking for faithful people. God commands and rewards faithfulness.

Are you a faithful person? Do you live up to your name of Faithful?

God help us to be faithful.

May 1, 2016

Are You A Friend Of Sinners?        Mark 6:30 - 34

I don't know about you but I am glad that Jesus has compassion on sinners. Many religious people today have a serious lack of compassion.
Jesus was ridiculed by the religious folk for being a friend of sinners

How do you react when we encounter people who believe different than us, or people with different morals than we have, or different habits than we have? Are you rude and hateful towards them? Or do you show them the love of Jesus?

What emotions do you experience when you encounter someone who is a Muslim? As a result of the attacks we have faced in our country we are almost programmed to hate these people.

I remember being at the airport in Chicago a few years back waiting for a flight and there was a Muslim guy over in the corner of the waiting room on his knees saying his prayers. All I could think of was terrorist and I felt a sense of hatred toward him.

But no matter how hard we try we cannot justify hatred toward any group of people! 

What is your reaction when you are in the presence of someone who has been drinking too much? How do you treat those who are struggling with drug addiction?

1.Are you judgmental?
2.Are you rude? 
3.Do you just ignore them? 
4.Or do you see them as lost souls in need of a Savior? 

It is time that we lose our self-righteous ways and grasp the fact that the people we are judging are lost and on their way to an eternity in Hell. Not one person here today deserves the salvation that we have received. Just like Jesus, we need to see people as lost souls who need a Savior!

In the verses we read together we saw that Jesus was taking the disciples away from the crowds for a while so that they could rest. As they departed the people ran after them.

Jesus didn't tell these people to go away, He didn't set a future appoin'ent with them, He didn't become frustrated because they were hindering their time of rest ...Jesus stopped and took the time to teach them! Why? Because He had compassion on them! 

There is a lesson for us in this simple verse. It is a lesson about compassion. Do we really have compassion on lost souls? Do we care that people are dying and going to Hell? Our family, friends and loved ones are dying and going to Hell.

Not only should we have a burden for those whom we love, we should have a burden for anyone who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior! The church has grown so cold, so lukewarm and so hard-hearted that we don't give a second thought to the eternity of those around us.

It is time for us to wake up and realize that there are many lost souls and much work to do! 

Today I want to ask this question Are You A Friend Of Sinners? - In verse 34 there are 4 elements found in the life of Jesus that should be found in His followers as well. 

I. Do you see what Jesus saw? Verse 34 says: Jesus saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Jesus didn't see people who were hindering His much needed rest! Jesus didn't see a bunch of heathens that He did not have time for. Jesus saw a mission field. 

All we have to do is open our eyes and we will see the same thing that Jesus saw. We will see people who need Jesus. 

Lost people are everywhere we go; maybe you live with them. Where is our concern?  Where is our passion?  Where is our burden for the lost? 

It is almost non-existent, we need God to break our hearts and open our eyes! 
Many times we don't see them simply because we are not looking. 
Many times we don't see them because we don't want to see them.
Many times we don't see them because we are so consumed with ourselves. 

Let us cry out to Jesus to help us See what he saw. Next

II. Do you feel what Jesus felt? - v34 says He saw the crowd and was moved with compassion toward them, 

Not only did Jesus see a large crowd of people who needed help He felt compassion on them!

I believe we would have immense compassion if we could get a glimpse of Hell! I am afraid that many do not truly believe it's real If we did we would be more inclined to tell people of the way out! 

I've heard people who claim to be Christians say that certain people deserve to burn in Hell!! Guess what? So do you and so do I. We all deserve that very thing!

You cannot feel that way without hate in your heart! The bible says in 1John 4:20  Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

We don't have to agree with someone's lifestyle, beliefs or actions but we must have compassion on their souls! Where would you be if Jesus had not had compassion on you? Our prayer should be that Jesus would help us see what He saw, feel what He felt and that He would help us care like He cared. That is the 3rd thing I would like to consider:

III. Do you care like Jesus cared? - v34c because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: 

In order for us to grasp the importance of this statement we must understand a few things about sheep. Notice: 

1) Sheep are not very smart animals - they are constantly getting into terrible situations. They do not have much knowledge or ability. They need a shepherd to help guide them! 

2) Sheep have no sense of direction - If a sheep wanders off from the rest of the herd, it will have a hard, if not impossible time, finding its way back. 

3) Sheep have no means of defense - Lions have teeth and claws. Snakes have fangs, Sheep have nothing they are simply helpless! By their very nature, sheep need a shepherd to guide them and protect them! 

Do you realize that Jesus knew that the very people He was with were the reason that He had to die? He realized that many of them would reject Him, yet He had compassion on them! If Jesus could care like that, then we have no excuse not to have compassion on the lost.

Do you care like Jesus cared?  Aren't you glad that Jesus cared for you? 
Aren't you glad that someone cared enough about you to tell you about Jesus? 

We must ask the Lord: Lord, Let us see what You saw, Let us feel what You felt, Let us care like You cared and finally we must ask:

IV. Do you do what Jesus did? - v34d and he began to teach them many things.

I find it interesting that Jesus took this occasion to teach! Notice the progression:  1) He saw them 2) felt compassion on them 3) and immediately began to teach them many things.

They needed answers and He had the answers they needed. Each one of us who are believers have the answer that others need today, The answer is Jesus!

Not only do we have the answer, we have the obligation to share that answer “ Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Do you share the answer with others?
Do you have a burden for lost people? 
Do you care that people are dying and going to Hell? 
Where is our passion to share the good news of Jesus Christ? 

Are You A Friend Of Sinners?

I like to have a little humor in my sermons to toss in a joke or two just to see if you are awake but today I couldn't.

I know it's not fun to be reminded that each one of us is responsible to share Jesus with those around us. It can be scary I get that.

When I first became pastor here and preached that it is each of our responsibility to share the Gospel a man came up to me and said That's what we pay you for! He didn't want it to be his responsibility but it is.

April 24, 2016

He's Still God        Daniel 3:1 - 7

Many times we are guilty of praising the Lord only when things are going our way. Too often we are quick to blame Him when things are going wrong. He is worthy to be praised in the good times and in the bad. He is worthy of praise on the mountaintop and in the valley. We are to praise Him in the midst of the storm and in times of peace. 

Sometimes we pray and God answers those prayers the way that we would choose. Other times we pray and God answers but the answer is the opposite of what we want. I am here to tell you that even in those times He is still God!

Sometimes we join together and pray for someone that is sick and they are healed and it's easy to praise the Lord. Then there are times when we join together and pray for someone and that person passes away. Does this mean that God did not hear our prayer? Did God let us down? Is God any less worthy of our praise? Absolutely not! God is sovereign and He is still God!

We are living in increasingly difficult days...We are headed for oppression, opposition and persecution like we have never seen before. Even though things may be bad and getting worse, we can face the future with hope. Because no matter what we may face, nothing can change the fact that God is still God! 

Though The Government Denies Him...He's Still God. In our scripture reading  

King Nebuchadnezzar erected a gold statue in Babylon. He sent word to his subordinates to come to the dedication of this idol.

The princes, governors, captains, judges, treasurers, counselors, sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces gathered together before the image of gold. It was demanded that when the music was played that all would bow and worship this statue. The King also warned that any who refused to bow and worship the idol would be bound and cast into a furnace of fire. 

Nebuchadnezzar was not the first ruler to set up a false idol and he won't be the last. Our current government has not set up an image of gold, but there is an attempt by many of our leaders to deny God.

In recent decades our leaders have attempted to ban God from every area of our society. They have taken prayer and the bible out of our schools. They have banned the 10 Commandments from our courthouses. They have endorsed immorality.

In almost every budget, every bill, every law that is passed the Legislative, judicial and executive branches of our government make it clear that God is not welcome in our country.

Nebuchadnezzar denied the One True God and instituted false worship. But this did not change the fact that God was still God! Regardless of what the future holds for America...HE'S STILL GOD!!! It is easy (and justified) to complain about the fact that the government denies God, but it is not just those in high places who deny God. 

I would also like to examine the fact that: Though the world rejects Him...He's still God!

V. 7 - Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the nations and peoples of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The King issued the decree and the people bowed and worshiped the image of gold. For many who were present it was no issue at all for them to obey the command. The pagans had no convictions they simply did what they were told with no fear of the consequences. 

The majority of people in our day could care less that our culture is growing increasingly immoral. They do not care that Jesus is blasphemed and God is expelled from our society. They have no motivation to take a stand when our freedoms are taken away.

They are quick to call us bigots and judgmental when we take a stand for Christ. They reject the Gospel and they reject God. As a result they will mock, scorn and persecute those who follow Him. 

This was the case for the 3 Hebrew Children. Even though the majority of the people bowed and worshipped the idol, this did not change the fact that God was still God! And we can be sure that even though the majority may reject Him, this doesn't change the fact that He is still God!

In the vast multitude that worshipped the golden idol, there were only 3 who took a stand foGod. Things are no different today. Though there may be many who profess to follow Christ, there are very few who will take a stand!

- This leads us to the third point I would like to consider: Though His followers may forsake Him...He is still God!

In our day there are constant attacks on Christ and there are many who profess to follow Him who remain silent. There are multitudes of people in churches as we speak who refuse to take a stand for what is right. There are countless others who have compromised and abandoned their beliefs and convictions.

Today the church is not much different than the world. People claim one thing and do another.

And when Christ is attacked...they sit back and do nothing. Some bow and worship Christ on Sunday and then worship themselves, material goods and the world the rest of the week.

My friend it doesn't work this way. You are either with Jesus or against Him. He said Himself - Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

You have a choice to make. Are you going to take a stand or will you bow and compromise? That is the choice that the 3 Hebrew Children had to make. And their choice was not an easy one. Keep in mind, we know how the story ends they didn't.

We know how things turned out. These men had no idea what was coming their way. But they remained faithful in the face of intense persecution. 

My friend nothing can change that fact! You may be facing a time of uncertainty. You may be in the midst of a fiery trial like you have never experienced before. You may encounter persecution that you never expected. Regardless of your circumstances, may I assure you He is still God!

I am afraid that in our day we have a generation who praise God in the good times but abandon Him when things are bad. 

In times of adversity we often cling to the promise of Romans 8:28. That verse says "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

- It doesn't say "all things work together the way we had planned." Nor does it say "all things work together the way we would like". It says "all things work together for good". 

Sometimes we may not know what good is... but God always does! He is sovereign, He knows what is best and He is in control. 

When the doctor gives you bad news ...HE IS STILL GOD! When the bank account is empty...HE IS STILL GOD! When you have trouble with your kids...HE'S STILL GOD! When you have trouble in your marriage...HE'S STILL GOD! When you face unspeakable tragedies ....HE'S STILL GOD! When death has taken a loved one ...HE'S STILL GOD! Though we live in a world of uncertainty ...HE'S STILL GOD

I know that many of you are in the midst of the fire right now. Maybe you question if God is there and if He even cares for you.

If so I would encourage you to remember what Peter said in 1Peter 4:12-13

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Always remember that He Is Still God! Though The Government Denies Him... Though The World Rejects Him... Though His People Forsake Him...Though Trouble Comes To Those Who Follow Him....HE'S STILL GOD! 

April 17, 2016

Learning From Our Mistakes    Luke 22:54-62

Last week we talked about a couple of people who made bad choices First we talked about Judas who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and we also talked about Peter who denied knowing the Lord.

As stated last week it ended badly for Judas but Peter learned from his mistake and spent the remainder of his life faithfully following Jesus.

Today in a follow up message we will trace the steps that Peter took that led to his downfall but more importantly to his restoration and life of service to our Savior.  

Peter was a Christian who was mightily used by God we read in Acts 2:41 that Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved.

We will look briefly at what led to his downfall in hopes of avoiding some of those mistakes and then we will focus on the events that led to his extraordinary life of service.

In the verses we read together we saw that when Jesus was arrested Peter followed at a distance. Somebody built a fire in the middle of the courtyard and Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him and said, Hey this is one of those Jesus guys.

But he denied it. Nope not me I don't even know that guy A little later someone else saw him and said, You're one of them. No I'm not! Peter replied.

About an hour later it happened again and Peter cusses and says, Man, I don't know what you're talking about!

The Bible records: Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly. 

1. Peter had been in ministry with the Lord Jesus for 3 years. He probably thought he knew it all “ that he had arrived.
2. But it had been easy to serve the Lord in those days “ because Jesus was popular. But the situation all changed with the arrest of the Master,
3. As Peter stood and warmed himself at the fire of the enemies of Christ, he found, possibly for the first time, that it was unpopular to be a Christian.
4. What would Peter do? Would he stand up for Jesus and boldly declare his allegiance? Or would he cower and deny Him?
5. Sadly, Peter wavered, caved to peer pressure, and denied he even knew the Lord. (Don't get down on Peter; in the same situation we might have done worse).
6. This event in Peter's life exposed his pride and his fear you see
7. Peter was forced to evaluate which he loved more “ Christ or the world. Maybe you have not had to face that decision “ but you will. You can't straddle the fence. 1 Jn. 2:15 says, If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. You must choose one or the other.

We read in Mark 8:34-36 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

You can't hold onto the world and also serve the Lord. Choose which one you want more.

At the fire, Peter was trying to hold onto both this world and follow Jesus. After the fire, he let go of the world. It caused the death of the old Peter and the beginning of the new Peter. Has that happened to you?

It is easy for us to judge Peter for denying the Lord but where were the other disciples? At least Peter followed Jesus after he was arrested the rest of them took off and hid.

Peter didn't always get it right but he had a genuine desire to serve the Savior and though we don't always get it right I believe we too want to serve our Lord.

After Jesus has been crucified and come back to life he is eating with the disciples and John 21 records When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ˜Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' ˜Yes, Lord,' he said, ˜you know that I love you.' Jesus said, ˜Feed my lambs.'

Jesus asks Peter this same question 3 times, perhaps corresponding to Peter's 3 denials.  And each time Peter says: you know that I love you.

If we love Jesus, we should say so. It's easy to say I love You, but the proof is “ Are you obeying Christ? Jesus said, If you love Me you will obey what I command Jn. 14:15.  Then down in verse 23 He says If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.

If you think about it every created thing except for us, obey Jesus.

a. The Sun, moon, and stars obey Him.
b. The winds and waves obey Him.
c. The angels and demons obey Him.
d. The animals obey Him.
e. The only created things that don't obey Him is us!

Jesus has a work for each of us to do. Will we obey? Will you do the will of God with your life. 

Jesus told Peter, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. And he wants the same from us. I'm sure we will make some mistakes along the way but even if we catch ourselves warming our hands by the fire and denying our Lord Cry it out and get back into the game.

A new census taker from the city was sent to the mountains of Arkansas. He was excited because this was his first day on the job. He came upon the tiniest cabin he had ever seen in his life. Intrigued, he went up and knocked on the door. Anybody home? he asked. Yep came a kid's voice through the door. Is your father in there? asked the census worker. Pa? Nope, he left afore Ma came in. Well is your mother in there? Ma? No, she left just before I got here said the kid. But protested the census worker, Aren't you ever together as a family?  Sure, but not in here said the kid through the door. This is the outhouse!

Yeah we're gonna make some mistakes as we seek to serve Christ and others but like Peter we need to learn from our mistakes.

April 10, 2016

A Bad Trade           Matthew 27:3-10

The picture you are looking at is of my grandson Micah and as you can see he is not a happy camper. He started out happy After all he was eating a Happy Meal!

The family was at McDonalds and apparently(at least at their McDonalds) you can trade your happy meal toy for an ice cream cone which is what Micah did. The Problem? Buyer's remorse!

Half way through his ice cream cone he decided he would rather have the Happy Meal Toy. But as they say It was a done deal.

How often have you found yourself in Micah's circumstances making  a trade you soon regretted.

If you relate don't be too hard on yourself you are not the first nor will you be the last.

We recently celebrated Easter and while the Easter story is a story of ultimate victory there are also several instances of regret within that story.

I think first of Judas He thought he was making a good trade when he betrayed Jesus and earned himself 30 pieces of silver but almost immediately he wanted to trade his ice cream for a toy.

The Bible records that he went back to the chief priests with whom he had struck his evil deal. Matthew 27:4 says:

 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.  I have sinned, he said, for I have betrayed innocent blood.

What is that to us? they replied. That's your responsibility.

I want us to focus very intently on those last three words spoken by the chief priests. .. They said:  That's your responsibility. To my way of thinking one of the biggest problems in the world today is the failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions.

It's not our fault it's always someone else's fault. We come by that honestly It started way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam said in Genesis 3:12 It's not my fault The woman you put here with me”she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.

So first off Adam blamed God for giving him the woman and then he blamed the woman for giving him the fruit. He said: The woman YOU put here with me”SHE  gave me the fruit 

So God said to the woman, What is this you have done? And she blamed the snake. The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

We all know people who never accept responsibility for their actions it's never their fault and because it's not their fault they never learn from their mistakes.

I don't know if you ever watch Dr. Phil but one of the things he often says is: You can't change what you don't acknowledge. If you make a bad decision own up to it and learn from it.

The world is full of people who say that they love God but they trade their relationship with Him for the pleasures of this present world. The Bible is very clear that whatever sacrifices we make for Jesus here on earth will more than be made up for in Heaven.

Don't trade eternal rewards for things that don't last. Thirty pieces of silver looked good for a little while.

The second person who made a choice he soon regretted was Peter.

Jesus had told him before the rooster crows three times you will deny me.  Matthew 26:75 says: Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times. And he went outside and wept bitterly.

I think it is safe to say that Peter regretted the choice he made. Two men each in their own way made bad choices they settled for the ice cream when they really wanted the toy.

Two disciples Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus and Peter who denied that he even knew Him So how did their story end? Judas? Judas went out and hung himself.

And Peter learns from his mistake and is seen not only as a disciple but as a leader of the disciples. And Jesus said to him it is on this kind of faith that He would build His church.

Peter is considered to be one of the most honored man in history; Judas not so much. We would never consider naming one of our children Judas But here's the thing...

The world continues to chase after the successes of Judas seeking out financial wealth and political power in hopes they will discover that illusive American dream called success.

So what is success? True success is not what the world thinks of you and what you have done, but what God thinks of you and what you have done.

A man was hiking along a mountain road when he saw an old Indian man lying with his ear to the ground. As he approached the Indian man, he heard him talking. 
Chevy pickup truck. Large tires. Green. Man driving with large German shepherd in passenger seat. Loaded with firewood. License plate 830 EJE.

The hiker was astounded and said to the old Indian, You mean you can tell all that from listening to the ground? 

The old Indian replied: No Truck just ran over me.

All that to say We think we are smart we think we know what is going on. We see what the world calls success and we say, I want some of that!

Only to find that our 30 pieces of silver were not worth it.

We are all going to make some mistakes we are all going to make bad choices but what is important is that we not allow our bad choices to ruin our lives. Judas dropped out on life Peter embraced it.

You see our bad choices can be a stepping stone to a better more fulfilling life in Jesus Christ.

What about you this morning What choices are you making? What's it gonna be Ice Cream or Happy Meal Toy?

I'm sure I have over used this illustration Ice Cream Verses Toy, but allow me to take it one step further.

Why was Micah upset about his choice After all the kid loves ice cream. I think maybe it was because with every lick of the cone he realized that he would soon have nothing left.

And that is our problem we choose things that won't last over things with eternal value.

Matthew 6 says: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Your ice cream cone is going to melt

One short life will soon be past Only what's done for Christ will last.

April 3, 2016

Notes From Our Trip       1Peter 5:5 -11

When you think about It is not hard to believe that there is a God and that He is very much involved in our lives. We just need to become more aware of Him and learn to see Him and acknowledge Him in our daily lives.

They say Take time to smell the flowers Today I want us to take time to notice and acknowledge our God.

A few months ago our daughter Eva said to me Dad you are good at finding things If you see a slide I would like one for Micah(That's our grandson).  Seriously it was less than a week later and I was at a yard sale I bought a couple boxes of washers you can't have too many washers

And there on the ground ten feet from where I had parked was a yellow plastic slide. I asked if it was for sale and they said, No it's free take it!  So I did!

Now Eva was excited to hear we had a slide for Micah But sadly when they came home for Chris'as it wouldn't fit in their car. And it was too long to fit in Marla's Toyota so I said, Next time we go to Indiana we will take the Suburban You can fit an elephant in the back of that thing!

So this past week brought an opportunity to go to Indiana and babysit Micah My son in law is a Methodist minister and he had the opportunity to go to England last Summer and follow the roots of John and Charles Wesley founders of the Methodist church. It was a free trip for him except he had to agree to go to Georgia to give a report(or something) on what he had seen. And this past Friday was his day to go to Georgia.

Our grandson is in day care But on Friday's he usually stays home with Ben and they have Daddy Day. So we went and filled in for Daddy Day!

We left on Thursday we took the Suburban with the slide in the back and a few other items for the expressed purpose of spoiling the grandson!

The Suburban is a 1995 model and is basically a box on wheels. We hadn't gotten very far in our trip when the wind started blowing us around like a penny in a clothes dryer.

I almost never drive like they taught us in drivers ed Hands at ten and two I usually have one hand around 3:18. But Thursday I had both hands clenched white knuckled...until they were starting to cramp

I remember saying to Marla I hope it isn't like this Saturday for the trip home It wasn't it was worse! We were on 74 and they have those signs overhead that tell you to buckle up or don't text and drive or whatever yesterday they said Danger 40-50MPH wind gusts!...yeahhhh

That was no lie The wind was kind of coming from the left and I was steering into it and all of the sudden a huge gust hit us on the right side and my large box on wheels shot to the left and I screamed like a little girl which made Marla jump It was not fun

But you know what made it easier was knowing I wasn't going through that storm alone. Marla was with me she knew what I was facing and she offered encouragement.

You know life is like that we want and expect smooth sailing but often we find ourselves hanging on white knuckled for dear life. In times like that our God offers us encouragement and He says: Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. He says fear not I am with you.

He says in Hebrews 13:5..I will never leave you and never forsake you. Luke 12:7 "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrow and in Psalm 23 He says: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. And 1Peter 5:7 tells us to Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

In this life we will all battle some storms But we never have to do it alone For God is with us.

The second thing I want us to notice is that we can accomplish more for God and more for His church if we work together. You may have seen the pictures I posted on FaceBook of the slide I installed for Micah

When they moved into the house the little fort thing was already in the back yard and Ben's dad came and added swings to it and as I said, Friday I added the slide.

What we did was to build on the foundation that others had built. 1Corinthians 3:10 says this: According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.

As a church we are building on the foundation that was laid 150 years ago. It would be wrong in so many ways if we do not do everything we can do to make sure that this church not only survives but that it thrives and remains a lighthouse of hope for future generations until Christ returns.

Just as Ben's dad added the swings and as I added the slide to a fort that someone else built years earlier so must we each do our part to keep this church built up.

Some can teach, some can clean, some can give time, some can give money, some can pray for this church, and all of us can invite our family, friends and neighbors to join us as we continue to build on a foundation laid years before.

It is 295 miles from our house to Eva's house if you don't take any detours a five hour trip if you make it non-stop. So we obviously don't get to see our grandson as often as we would like.

We keep in contact with him with facetime on the computer but it's not the same as being there But the more time we get to spend with him the better he gets to know us, and the sweeter the time we have together.

He will be three in June and I have to say that the hugs I got this trip were the best hugs he has ever given me There was a genuine I'm glad to see you Gwampa Chuck.(That's me She's Nana and I'm Gwampa Chuck. His other grandpa has a tractor so Richard is known as Gwampa tractor.

When he was younger he wanted his mom or dad around all the time. But now that he knows us better we just threw the car seat in the Suburban and headed out to Dairy Queen for lunch while mommy was at work and Daddy was in Georgia and we had a great time comparing who had the longest French fries. No tears, No fears just fun!

You know the more time you spend with your heavenly Father the more you will trust Him the deeper your love will be the more you will be able to put your life in His hands and say What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart.

Just a few simple thoughts this morning with deep implications for our lives.

1.   The winds of adversity will blow your way but you are never alone, for your Savior will be with you He will leave you nevermore.

2.   We are building on a foundation that others laid for us and if we work together we can accomplish great things for Christ.

3.   We need to get to know Jesus better so that we can fully trust Him with our lives and futures.

 1 Chronicles 1:35 (KJV)
The sons of Esau; Eliphaz, Reuel, and Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah.
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