It is just weeks after Jesus died. All of the disciples are gathered in the upper room waiting for Jesus to do something. Something they really don’t understand what that will be.
Let’s eavesdrop on their conversation found in Acts 1:8. “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem (whatever town you live and work in), throughout Judea (Your state), in Samaria (That place most you don’t like to go!), and to the ends of the Earth!”
Think about this with me, Jesus had just been crucified. The disciples and followers of Christ were a wreck. The one thing that Jesus spoke to them was that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon (up on) them and that they were going to be “missionaries” to all of the different places that they call home, and even places they may have hated to go! How amazing is that!
Jesus has a critical point for us right here. In our doubt…in our pain…in our unbelief as to what is going on around us…Jesus says in John 16:33, “Take heart, I have overcome the world!” Then He gives us the remedy – receive power, the cause – tell everyone about me, and the outcome – all over the world!
The question for us today, “Are you ready?” Let’s take Jesus all over the world! Let’s get out of the place that we are, and make Him famous!
I have been thinking about something this past week! Want to know what it is? WATER! Living on an island, I constantly think of water. I eat out of it, play in it, and drive by it (sometimes through it). Water surrounds my whole life by as close as 1.5 miles away. Hence some thoughts about water…
Have you ever noticed how water is so moving in many ways. It scares some people; yet they cannot live without it. It is exhilarating to others; yet takes the lives of many and destroys through floods, rain, and accidents. Visiting the beach is a multi-billion dollar industry in the USA alone, yet pollution drives life from it seemingly every year. Water…it’s breathtaking––both good and bad! Water…it’s beautiful––yet so vast and so overwhelming. Water…calm and turbulent, all in the same way! Water…we simply cannot live without it!
Check this video, entitled “No More Sea”, that my friend Rev. Zach Hunt of Cordova, TN wrote and produced!
This week in my personal time, I began to notice that Jesus spent a lot of time preaching and changing lives around the waterfront and shoreline. In Luke 5 Jesus performs three very different miracles, all on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee.
1st – The disciples had a catch of catches, only after a long depressing night of fishing – which translates into catching nothing! He called them to go into the deep places of water or “chaos”. Look what happened! They caught so many fish they had to have help hauling them in! Our world is in the deep chaos. We have to go to them. They will not get to us––they are lost!
2nd – The man with leprosy who asked Jesus if He was willing. Good for the man––Jesus was willing! No matter where you are at in your life or where the people in your life are at, Jesus is willing to see you and them healthy and living for Him! He is willing, He is for REAL!
3rd – Because of the faith of his friends, a man was lowered through the roof and Jesus healed him! As a Christian, our faith is the difference for someone else’s eternal reality! We are the difference between Heaven or hell for somebody that we know and call friend. Remember, the sins of the man on the mat were forgiven because of the FAITH of his FRIENDS!
This all happened in the sight of water! No matter where you are at today––scared, bewildered, amazed, or simply needing a friend to help you to Jesus––let the water that flows from the everlasting well flow in your life!
John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
Keep Living in the Sight of Water, because there is coming a day when there will be “No More Sea”!
PS. Thanks Zach for the confirmation of my quiet time all week long!
I will be preaching a sermon on Sunday entitled, “But Caleb!” As I have been praying through this sermon, the thought has come to mind several times, “But God!” While I don’t want to spoil the sermon for you right now, I will say that Caleb set himself aside with his attitude and his never-swerving devotion to God Almighty! He lived by the creed “But God!”
Let’s look at some “But God” moments in the Bible…
Acts 13:30 “But God raised him from the dead!”
Psalm 54:4 “But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!”
Psalm 66:19 “But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.”
Acts 10:40 “But God raised Him to life on the 3rd day!”
Eph. 2:4 “But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much…”
Psalm 64:7 “But God Himself will shoot them with His arrows…”
Romans 5:8 “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us…”
Jer. 10:12 “But God made the earth by His power, and He preserves it by His wisdom.”
Gen. 50:20 “You intended to harm me, But God intended it all for good.“
Today there may a lot of attention on a lot of other things in your world! Maybe you are in the place that you are feeling that all of the things in your world are getting all the attention. I want to remind you there is someone that is greater! That someone is in you! Just don’t forget, “BUT GOD” can change the circumstance, and change you! But God says, But You!
I forgot to take out the trash on Friday morning! It was a holiday Monday, so the regular trash day on Thursday gets pushed back one day. It is really not a big deal…just a hassle next Thursday when the garbage man will have to take care of two weeks worth of trash, instead of one! Not to mention the smell of old trash!
This did, however, get me to thinking…
As a man on a trash truck takes my trash, the body of Christ has a role in the confessing of sin. Look at what James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” When we confess and pray for each other, healing happens because ACCOUNTABILITY happens.
Romans 10:10 says, “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Every Thursday afternoon, I don’t just know that the trash is gone from my curb; I believe that the trash is gone, before I even pull into my driveway. Much the same way with BELIEF in Christ, you have to BELIEVE, not just see it!
1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” The great news here is that if we miss a day, then we are not going to be toast. It is not CONFESS to a person in our family, in the church, or to a random member of the clergy––It is to Christ that we CONFESS our sins to––the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
To take out the trash of your life, it takes 3 things…ACCOUNTABILITY, BELIEF, and CONFESSION!
Aren’t you glad that you if you miss a day, you are not penalized? The load doesn’t become too big for Christ and the trash gets taken––never remembered by the Garbage Man! Not even the foul stench of our old trash!
This morning a student from a past ministry assignment posted this statement on her Facebook wall, “God is the reason why even in pain – I smile, in confusion – I understand, in betrayal – I trust, and in fear – I continue to fight!” Of course like any person into Social Media, I “Retweeted” and posted it to my Facebook wall!
As I thought about this statement through the morning, how true this is. It is because of God that I am. Because of Him, I “move and have my being”! Through Him I have been called, “I called you into righteousness!” Because of Him, I am never alone, “I will never leave you or forsake you!” WOW, it is all about Him! And not about me! Sometimes that is a tough thing to handle when the entire world around me says, “I, ME, and MINE!”
But here is an interesting thought that the Apostle Paul brings to our attention. Phil. 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you (& me), will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” He is working on you and I – faithfully! He will not stop until we are reunited with Him on the other side of this life!
Don’t lose hope, that even though we struggle with “I & Me”, He doesn’t struggle with you! He loves You SO Much! Remember, Romans 8:38 & 39 “38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, let go of “I, Me, & Mine”! Grab onto Him “who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Eph. 3:20
I have a friend that speaks highly of me all the time! Recently we where on the phone and he began to speak of all of my positive traits and talk of things that he saw in me. I interrupted him quickly, only to say something that was almost shocking to my ears. “I wish that I saw all of those things in me, that you see in me.”
Why is it that in the mirror we usually see a self-portrait of doubt, self-pity, and “less than?” Why is it that when Christ looks at us, He sees a person worth dying for––a person He loves so much that He wants to spend all eternity with them–– a person that He calls “Friend?”
This afternoon I want to give you a piece of encouragement, a piece of cool on a hot summers day, a drink of water in the midst of a long day of manual labor. “For God so loved the world (YOU), that He gave His only son (JESUS), that whosoever (YOU and ME) would believe in Him (JESUS) would not die, but live forever!” John 3:16. What encouragement for you and I this afternoon! That no matter who you are or what you see in the mirror, Jesus loves you so much that He would die for you! Google tells us of 49,800,000 times of this same passage of God’s love for you and me! Google even knows how much He loves us!
Sir, Ma’am, young person…if you are thinking lowly of yourself this morning, if you looked in the mirror this afternoon and you didn’t like what you saw; please know that Jesus likes what He sees today! He likes what He sees so much that He stretched out His arms and died for you and me!
Oh yeah, one more thing… Rom. 8:35-39 says, “…nothing can ever separate us from God’s love!” Nothing you do, nothing you say, nothing you are will make God stop loving you!
Have a great day! Go look in that mirror one more time and tell yourself, “I am going to do great things today because God loves me! Thank you God!”
Until next time…change the reflection you see in your mirror, to what He sees in your mirror!
Good Day or Good Evening! First let me start by saying that we are in the center of the Lord’s work and hand! If I have ever been convinced that we are in the place that the operative word is NOW, it is now!
NOW is the time!
N – Not Afraid of what may look imposssible! Not afraid of what the surroundings may say is undoable! Not afraid of what some may call foolish! Not afraid of those that would say, “That is not for us, NOW!” Yes it is, and we are NOT AFRAID!
O – Operation 3:16 – Cheesy, yes. Churchy yes. For us – YES! When is the last time we thought of what is was really like to be lost! When was the last time that we thought of what is must be like to see someone, maybe our family, friends, neighbor, co-worker, how about even our enemy – face and enternity without Jesus! The Gospel is not good news, if it doesn’t get there in time! We have to be telling people our passion – The GOSPEL! It is not good enough to talk to them about our church, it is time for us as individuals to rise up and begin to love with the Gospel, Speak the Gospel, and Live the Gospel! It is our job, mine and yours to tell the Gospel story in all that we do! Every day! 365!
W – WOW! Have you ever thought WOW”, when you were at a beach at sunrise! How about sunset across a beautiful placid lake in the mountains! Think of the first time you saw a whale creasting in a canal, or a rainbow over the Landscape you call home! WOW! Guess what, the WOW factor has to come alive in our walk with Christ! He is AWESOME! HE IS AMZING! HE IS OUR HEALER, OUR FRIEND, OUR PROTECTOR, OUR DELIVER! HE IS OUR SCAPEGOAT, OUR NEED METER, OUR NEED RELIEVER! HE IS OUR REASON FOR LIVING, OUR REASON FOR DIEING! HE IS OUR SALVATION! He is “WOW”!
I learned an astounding statistic tonight! Between the countries of Monazbique, Nigeria, and Ghana on the continent of Africa, the AG missionaries of those countries have won bewteen 6.3% and 7.6% of those countries to the Lord. Of the AG churches in Southern New England, the 177 churches make up of @ 29,000 people in our churches. If you do the percentage of just over 11,200,000 that call SNE their home, we are reaching 00.0025% of our home! We have to be serious!
What would happen if we got so serious about the gospel that paid off our mortgage, so that we could invest pour more resources into the Gospel and the felt needs of the your community? What would happen if you teamed up to plant a church in a community on the otherside of the county, that doesn’t have church that is preaching the Gospel? What if you decided to invest money and your personal time or life in to a town in a state that has had no church planted there? What if you decided you wanted to find and unreached people group and begin to train leaders to move into that country and usher in the the words of Jesus, “This Gospel will be preached to all people, and THEN the end shall come!” What if we said NOW!
I want to do more! Do you? Let’s help each other! Will you begin to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send in workers? Will you pray that God would give you creativity in finances to spend on the Gospel? Will you pray with me that God will move before us, protect us, light us on FIRE so the World May Know!
I know I am preaching, I just couldn’t wait until Sunday! Can you copy this message, send it to your Friends via Facebook, Twitter, email! Can you spread the passion of the Father’s heart! Will you pray with me to see what the Lord will do! Let’s start NOW!
Until we talk again, let the passion burn, the Father lead, let the Message spread!
Mother’s Day! I love Mother’s Day in a different way these days. My mom passed away to be with Jesus over 2 years ago. Now instead of calling mom, sending her a card, sometimes flowers…I spend a quiet day of reflection and memories from the years that I had with her.
That becomes an interesting situation for me. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time arguing and battling my mom in those adolescence issues. In my young adult years, I spent trying to prove my mom did not know as much as she said that she knew. When I got married and had my own children, I quickly found out how much my mom knew about life, love, family, and me!
She was passionate about her kids, passionate about my dad, passionate about her grandchildren, and she was passionate about her Lord and Savior! Mom, thank you for passing on your passion to me!
Thank you for showing me what it looks like to love, to live, and what is to believe in something that is bigger than you! I miss you! I Love You Mom! Thank You for the memories, thank you for the passion, and thank you for my life! Happy Mother’s Day!
“You there, carry the cross of this King of the Jews!”
Simon of Cyrene or Niger as some have called me. I wasn’t just at the cross where Jesus died; I carried the cross that He died upon.
Some call that day – Good Friday; it did not seem to be good – especially as I walked this, the longest mile I had ever walked. I have thought of that fateful day nearly every day since it happened. Every detail… carved to the very core of my being. I close my eyes – I see the Romans coming to where my sons Alexander and Rufus and I stood; I open my eyes – it is all I can do to keep my thoughts from taking me straight to the hill they call the Skull; and even when I sleep – I find myself feeling the rough, hewn, and splintered instrument of death being driven upon my back.
May I share with you now something that really helped make this event for me a moment of destiny. It has forever changed the road I walk, the way I live, the way I love, and who I
serve. For me it was the way He looked at me and the words He shared as we walked arms linked. Enduring the pain of the cross, the thorns of the crown, the jeering words of the crowd, the tears of loved ones, and the whip of the soldiers – drunk so they would not remember what they did.
That day I found He knew me, that day He showed He loved me, that day I finally heard His call! By the time we found ourselves on the top of the hill, He had shared things with me about me and my family, how could He know other than being the Son of God. He so loved my boys, He talked of them as if He had known them since birth. But it was the way He called me, the way He spoke of my very need to serve. I then began to sense that carrying His cross would be the 1st of many things that I would do for Him.
He knew that I was just passing through on a day that would forever change the course of my history. Lost in my own thoughts and rituals, stained with the sins of a life with no purpose or cause, denying the story of this man named Jesus that I had heard of. You see I
wandered from place to place, thought to thought; never heeding the call to find this Man, so that I could find meaning and purpose.
I had felt the splinters, the thorns, and the warm crimson flow from His own body. Then I watched the nails, the sponge of hyssop, and the spear. I heard the thieves cry out, the curses of the soldiers, the jeering of the Jews, the mocking, the gasps. But I heard Him
say, as if to me and me alone, “Father, forgive them…” Then I saw my boys for the corner of my eye… That was for me… that was for us. From that moment on, I know I was changed… For as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! My purpose was to serve this King, with my whole life!
You see – this cross, many of you wear it around your neck having lost – from familiarity – the meaning of its wonder. Some of you look at it with a blank stare, having truly forgotten the passion of the act. Then there are a few of you that take this cross and personally deny the power of the blood stains, from the greatest Man I had ever met.
He loves me so much. How could I not serve Him, I will do anything for Him! You see I now serve this King of the Jews, this King of the Gentiles, truly the King of Kings! Will you find
your way to the top of this hill, will you feel the splinters that pierced His back; will you serve your King. For He loves you just the same, He gave His life for you!
My Wife, my best friend and I once made Egg Nog… Operative word is ONCE! The recipe that we got was for – seriously – 4 gallons! We had Egg Nog coming out of our ears and in to sauce pans, pots, empty 2 liter bottles, anything. Needless to say we threw away more Egg Nog than we kept, or should I say drank! Most of the time you would think that one would quickly be over Egg Nog in that kind of circumstance , not so for Justin and I. Just so you know, I have actually been able to pass the love for Egg Nog to my 7 yr. old son and my 2 yr. old daughter. We are an Egg Nog loving family – minus my wife!
I got to thinking about Egg Nog – being that is Christmas season and everything. Remember when you first tasted Egg Nog, it was kind of a “Bitter Sweet” experience. Half of it tasted “YUMMY”, the other half of it is kind of “YUCKY” (2-year-old words – my daughter may be reading this someday!)
How many things in life are like Egg Nog, YUMMY part of the way, YUCKY part of the way! Today I would like to give you a …
“Recipe for the Egg Nog in Life”
1) Love Much!
The Sinners! Remember Jesus said Love the sinner, hate the sin! To often we lump the sinner in with the sin. Jesus didn’t do that, He loved the sinner, and forgave the sin!
The Saints! Boy, isn’t it hard to love those that we sit with in the pews of our churches. Sometimes we forget to really take care of the brothers and sisters that we run the race with!
2) Forgive Often!
Talk about Half Yummy and Half Yucky!
We need to forgive those that have hurt us in the past, hence keeping us hurting in the present, No more letting people take up with free rent in the battle fields of our mind and hearts!
We need to forgive those that we don’t know well, but have had altercations with that we won’t let go!
Then how about those that we call friends and family! The old saying, “We hurt those we love the most!”
3) Worship Passionately!
In all that we do, not just our “Musical Worship” – we have to have passion! Sometimes passion is not loud, but it is always purposeful and direct. Think about the way you act, shop, drive, work in your job. Is it passionate for not just your boss, but for your Creator?
Let the action of your life be the true reflector of the one that you live your actions for!
These are pretty YUCKY things to walk through life in sometimes! But, these are very “YUMMY” things to learn in discipline in the long haul! The next time you get offered a glass of that thick, creamy, tangy Egg Nog – don’t just think about the how nice it tastes or how awful it tastes… Ask, Think, and Ponder…
Who can I Love today?
I am going to forgive today!
Where do I need to shore up the worship in my life!
Merry Christmas! Try making your own Egg Nog this year, just not 4 Gallons of it!
We recently just made a move to Upper Cape Cod, let me say – “Such a beautiful place!” It has been a great move, but with any move there are some really tough things that you have to deal with. Emotions, saying good-bye, letting go of your home, no longer being in your comfort zone, but most challenging is becoming thankful for things that you don’t necessarily understand – culture, business, restaurant hours, etc.
This has led me to the story of the 10 Lepers in scripture. This is found in Luke 17:11-19. I am so perplexed at the fact that Jesus healed 10 Lepers and only 1 come back to him to say “Thank You”. As I start to cast the stone of “How could you do that?”, I begin to think back in my life about 7 years ago… I was taken out for a full day of festivities for Christmas. The day culminated with a wonderful meal in downtown Naperville, IL. at a great restaurant (you know the restaurant that you only go to once a year or with a gift certificate!) I walked right past my Pastor that was paying for the whole day, not a word came from my heart, much less my mouth! After a quick lesson in the art of gratefulness, I have yet to forget that lesson learned!
As I reflect to that day, I think to myself, it wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful. It wasn’t even the fact that I didn’t like anything about the day. Simply, my attentions were turned to the fact that I was more consumed with my stomach and my entertainment mind being filled to the brim! I was focused on the wrong things of the day! I was totally consumed with my feelings of the day, than the fact that there was a huge blessing right in front of me. I was self-centered and focused on my full stomach!
Whether you find yourself in a new move, a new home, a new part of the country, in a new place in your walk with God; or simply coming out of one of those restaurants that you didn’t have to pay…make sure you have your attentions on the right place, the right things, even the right Person! Afterall, Jesus said to the Leper, that it was his faith that healed him! Guess what, it is our faith and gratefulness that keep the miracles coming!
P.S. Thanks Pastor Steve, for teaching a lesson that keeps on teaching!