Saturday, March 30, 2013


John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

In the finally sermon of this “Prepare ye the Way” series, Pastor JJ explained that the point and purpose of the “Atonement” makes all the difference in the world.

Let’s say that there was a book with a minutely detailed account of our lives (like the ones we read about in Revelation 20:11-13). Each page would detail the transgressions that was spoken, every sinful thought that crossed our minds, and ever deed of inequity against God that we’ve ever done. God loves us, but hates sin and must punish it. To solve this problem, God sent His beloved Son into the world to make atonement for our sins. All of our sins have been placed upon Jesus.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Christ bore our sin in His body on the Cross. 1 Peter 2:24Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.Finally, when the last sin had been paid for, Jesus said, “It is finished!” Jesus is not saying: “I give up” or “I can’t take it anymore”, but that He has finished the work that God the Father set out before Him … “mission accomplished”. Jesus shows up, grows up, dies for us and goes up. This atonement was the very purpose of His life. “It is finished” in the original Greek is the word “τελέω teleō” or “Tetelestai”, which is a commercial term meaning the debt is paid completely and concluded. When Jesus died, He was buried for three days; but He rose from the dead and went to heaven to prepare a place for us. Now He offers forgiveness, eternal life and heaven to you and me as a gift. How can we receive this gift? This gift is received by faith. Believe.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Scripture is not just a book of Do’s and Don’ts or merely a reference Guide (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), but a true story of God’s love and goodness in rescuing His Sin-dead humanity. Through Christ’s death, we conquer death. This is the gospel story of God’s “plan of salvation”, but the story isn’t finished yet. Because of the atonement, our eternal destiny had an address change. God provided the solution to the problem and righted what was wrong with a payment that satisfied the penalty. First, there was victory. Christ over-came and defeated evil. Secondly, there was justice by the substituting the innocent for the guilty in sin. Thirdly, there was transformation. Our live story is changed. Our relationship with God that was broken by sin was healed. We were redeemed – boughten with a great price. Found justified in God’s court. We’re saved by a sacrifice - the atoning blood of Jesus. A triumph over death by dying. The cross, the symbol of Christianity, doesn’t mean “an instrument of death”; it means “an instrument of life” & victory! Sin has been paid for. Victory done / God won!

Colossians 1:19-20For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

The problem with many of us isn't the atonement, but believing that “He would do it for me”. Sin has been paid for, but we do not want to accept and believe that it is true. “It is finished”, so live out that reality. Reconciliation, restoration, redemption and salvation have been accomplished by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Stop living out your sin that was paid for. Surrender and find the truth that you are looking for. Sin is not the problem of the Believer. Live out “it is finished” and complete what you were created to do. Don’t stop reading the Bible. Don’t stop going to bible Study. Don’t stop going to church. But believe that “it is finished” and start living as a child of God.

Happy Easter, Brian

Friday, March 29, 2013

Why is it Good Friday?

1 Peter 2:24 Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

He paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. Our Savior died that we may live. That’s why it’s “Good Friday”!

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Do You Thirst For?

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

What do we want out of life? What do we truly desire? What lengths does humanity take to achieve the happiness that they are searching for? In our Sunday sermon series, “Prepare Ye the Way”, Pastor JJ prepares our hearts for Easter with soul searching preaching on the Words of the Lord, Jesus, from the Cross. He explains that some of our desires are unrealistic, but some are for basic longings for needs, as hunger and thirst.

Psalm 69:21They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

Why did God give us a physical thirst, where great expense and effect towards limited, yet necessary commodities, as water? Gods wants us to depend on physical things in order to show us that God provides, not us. Wanting us to see how much we really depend upon God Himself; that our basic needs of life must be met by God. Quenching our thirst and meeting our physical needs, points to and reminds us of our deep spiritual needs of our heart. We need God because we only have what God allows us to have. This reality creates a desire from God for God, our Providence.

Psalm 63:1You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Pain is the negative, which we desire to rid ourselves of. Desire is the absence of something that we want, that we do not have and feel that we need. By our thirst for the Lord, we can enter and lean into desire. It is okay to have basic and godly desires, but not sinful desires as greed, pride, lusts, addictions and the like. Do not pretend that you do not have them. Unmet desires and unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment. Let us thirst for “living water”.

John 4:10, 13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  “Whoever drinks of this water (from the well) will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Have we lost touch with our heart? What we want can lead us in the wrong directions. What we need are desires that are in line and aligned with God’s desires and purposes. God wants to us our desires to accomplish great things. It starts with a thirst which we should submit to Jesus to align with what He is doing in this world. Do we have a desire for Christ’s atonement? Do we have a desire to give loving care and compassion to meet the needs of others?

John 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

Embrace the thirst of Christ’s desires for our life. Cherish our thirst for Jesus, who meets our needs. Do we desire Him more and more? Do we thirst for the Word of God? Do we thirst to see our family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances come to a “saving” knowledge of Jesus Christ? Jesus, from the Cross said, “I thirst”. What do you thirst for?

Psalm 42:1-2 “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

In Christ, Brian

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Strong Tower

Psalm 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. 

I was listening the one of the Christian radio stations here, as I was driving out to a job and heard this bible passage in the broadcast. Immediately, it reminds me of the Contemporary Christian band Kutless' song “Strong Tower” is based upon this same bible passage. The lyrics are
“You are my strong tower - A shelter over me - Beautiful and mighty - Everlasting King
You are my strong tower - Fortress when I'm weak - Your name is true and holy - And Your face is all I see.”

God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are our strong tower. And the impenetrable walls not only “keeps out” the enemy, but “keeps in” that which is “right” for safe keeping. Has it ever crossed our minds, all the evil that the Lord has sheltered us, His children, from which we never saw, because it didn't reach us. It makes me shake my head to think that we could ever believe that we were strong enough on our own to take on this world alone.

In the words of Corrie ten Boom: “If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest.” John 10:27-30 lets us know that we are in His Almighty hands. May our focus, our hearts, our thoughts and meditations be upon our All-powerful Strong Tower and loving, Creator Father God.
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

Peace and rest in Christ, Brian

Saturday, March 23, 2013

No Pain, No Gain

Hebrews 12:1b-2a Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.

As we approach the Easter season’s Holy week and Resurrection Sunday, I find a Divine and divine coincidence that Pastor JJ’s sermon and our Friday night small group series touch on the same issue of pain. When it comes to pain and the pains of life, do we ever feel overwhelmed by our circumstances or wonder if anyone could understand our pain? Does, sometimes, life with its real problems and facing one struggle after another, often seems unfair? Does God have a purpose in the pain and in justices that we see and experience? Is the author writing our patience, endurance, perseverance, inner strength, and steadfastness in these “trial by fire” difficult circumstances that grow, mature, and perfect our faith and trust in God? Once we entrust our lives to God, aren't we exempt from pain and difficulties of life? Does our relationship with Him provide protection against pain? Did it for Jesus?

Psalm 22:24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.

Pain is a human condition, but how do we normally respond to pain and metal distress and duress? Doesn't society say to avoid pain, thinking: “How can a good God allow pain”? Are we to pretend that it doesn't exist? Shouldn't we just smile, run from it, find a distraction, or a pill that makes it go away? Jesus didn't avoid the pain of the Cross at Gethsemane, but embraced the pain and suffering in our place for the remission of sin. Picture Christ beaten and scourged, hanging on the Cross without pain, without suffering … its not not the way it is and you can’t. Yet know that by His pain, the Lord saved our life and to life eternal.   

1 Peter 2:23-24 While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

We are not the main role in this stage, called “Life”, God is. Train yourself to rid your fear of “everything you own” (Luke 18:22-23). We were not created for pain and death, but we live in a “fallen” world, lost in sin. But focus on the “mark” of God, not missing the mark. Set your gaze upon Jesus and nothing more than Jesus. Not ourselves, the world or even the body of the church, but on the head of the church – Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Know that there is a Judge watching the race and that God straightens things out and makes all things “right” in the end. In the pain, there is gain.

2 Thessalonians 1:4-7 Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SAVED … FROM WHAT … TO WHAT - Part Four (The Triumph of Heaven)

John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Heaven is just as wonderful as Hell is miserable. The choices are the tragedy of Hell or the triumph of Heaven. In Heaven, you’ll be at your best forever. God impounds all imperfections at His gate (Revelation 21:27 – Nothing impure will ever enter it.) and we’re going to live for eternity without any of that stuff in our lives. Satan’s voice will be silenced, once and for all. The devil will not be allowed anywhere near Heaven, but thrown into the lake of burning sulfur – Revelation 20:10

Revelation 22:3No longer will there be any curse.” Temptations of the flesh that "keep us down" here on earth don’t exist anymore. The weight of this world will be lifted off of our shoulders. We won’t have to live under pressure ever again. Heaven is a place to get excited about.

1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

God gives Believers a new heart. The Lord takes out our old heart, that is tainted and strained by sin and the things of this world, and implants the heart that He originally intended for our bodies, mind and soul. And His invitation to salvation includes living with that heart which knows no evil for all eternity. In Heaven, forgiveness and life will reign, and death will no longer be an option, where all things are made new.  Revelation 21:4And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  You will not be bored or tired in Heaven because you will be the “perfected you” and you will have purpose there. A life without purpose here on earth is the work of the Evil One in our lives, and in Heaven that will not exist. We will know and live our purpose. We shall serve God with our gifts and talents forever in Heaven. God is going to use you exactly as you are. For all of eternity, we shall be in His presence, continuing to learn and be amazed at His greatness. The closer we get to God, the more beautiful and glorious He becomes to us.  

1 John 5:11-13And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Thanks to Jesus Christ, for those who believe, this earth will be the closest that they’ll get to Hell. That if you are in Christ, you can rest assured that what you experience this side of Heaven will be the closest to Hell that you will get. But, let me give you a warning as well. Without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, this life here on earth will be the closest you’ll ever get to Heaven or the glory of God, because the wrath of God for sin and eternal damnation in Hell follow. John 3:35-36The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” God gives us a promise and He leaves us with a choice. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The choice is ours. Where will you spent eternity?

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

My notes from a Sermon by Pastor Jason Jahn.
In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SAVED … FROM WHAT … TO WHAT - Part Three (What is Hell?)

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Lord tells us that Hell is also outside the possibility of change. Hell is reserved for those who refuse to accept and follow Christ, who stand up in rebellion against Him and His ways. Sin has eternal consequences and once you are there, nothing can change or be stopped. The rebel cry of Luke 19:4We don’t want this man to be our king”, shall be heard and will be respected. Hell is a place where hope perishes and happiness dies away, but the body and soul cannot do either of those things. Hell is not a prison that God sends you in order to change you, so that you can be "good enough" for Heaven. It’s not a “Reform school”, where He can scare you enough and teach you the “right” ways in order to get you into Heaven. It is not an “In-patient” Rehabilitation Center, where He takes and purges all of the evil from your life by sending you to the place where “true” evil exists, in the hopes of getting your attention and make you “good”. That’s not what Hell is designed for or why it exists.

Listen to me really carefully please, because I want you to get this, if you don’t hear anything else. Hell is not for those who seek God and still struggle with life, but is for those who actively rebel against God’s call upon their life. Hell is for those who decide that they want nothing to do with Him, and then Jesus says “Great, You made that choice. I never knew you, you evildoer” – Matthew 7:23.  Hell is for those who when Jesus calls, they decide not to listen. Those who when Jesus directs them, they decide not to follow. This is why Hell exists. It’s the ultimate demonstration of God’s justice because God in His infinite holiness can have nothing to do with our sin and the sinful ways of this world. We have to realize that the sovereign Creator of Heaven and Earth, nature and all that live, has no obligation to save anyone who sins against Him. But out of His essence of love and mercy He offers forgiveness and salvation, restoration and reconciliation, adoption and citizenship into His kingdom of Heaven by His grace through faith in His Son as an atoning Savior, to those who choose to believe and accept His offer. What we have to humbly realize is that its not amazing that God doesn't save those sinners who reject His grace, but it is amazing that He sent His Son and offers this salvation to anyone, who chooses to accept it and receive the righteousness of Christ.

 Matthew 25:46Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Believing Christians praise God because they know that God chooses not to deal with us just out of His holiness, but He deals with us out of His mercy. It was out of His unending mercy that He gave us a choice by sending His Son as a free gift (not earned, deserved or bought) and Jesus paid the price, offering us a different choice than Hell. But if we choose not to accept the sacrifice that He made upon that Cross, His inherent holiness does not allow us to be in His presence. Habakkuk 1:13You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.” But God’s heart is heard clearly in Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die?’

God is not up in Heaven looking down and taking joy in seeing mankind, created in His image, falling away and going to eternal punishment. Isn't the choice so clear? Shall we choose to fall away and perish? C.S. Lewis said, “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense successful rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked from the inside.” If we rebel against God; against His teachings, against His ways, and against the call that He places upon our life to follow Him, he will let you. You can be successful in that, but make no mistake about it, it’s a choice that humanity makes to lock themselves into that reality. How can a loving God sent someone to Hell? Well, the truth is that He doesn't  Those who choose to rebel against God’s Ways, refuse to repent and reject the offer of salvation in Christ alone make the choice to go to Hell. Christ (the Son of God) died on our behalf, so that we would not have to go to Hell. This is the gospel message that Satan does not want anyone to know. Jesus paid the price of our sin, so that we would not perish but have eternal lifeIsn't it good to hear those words now? God does not offer us anything less than that.  

 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.”

I shall pick up one more time on Pastor’s Sermon from right here on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SAVED … FROM WHAT … TO WHAT - Part Two (The Tragedy of Hell)

John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Picking up now on Pastor JJ’s “Reality Check” Sermon on being saved … from what, to what. Hell is the complete absence of the presence of God. 13% of Jesus’ teachings were on Hell. Why was it so important to Jesus? Because He didn't want any of us to go there. Two-thirds (2/3) of Jesus’ parables were on eternal judgment. Let us make no mistake, this is a topic that is very important to God. The tragedy of Hell is completely real, and one that we cannot continue to ignore. There are people in the world whose life direction is pointed directly to the gates of Hell. We, as a community of faith and ambassadors for the kingdom of God, cannot continue to take it lightly.

Psalm 9:16-17The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

What is Hell, but a physical place, for eternal punishment of body and soul in ever-lasting agony and suffering. Jesus said in Matthew 22:13  “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” This is a serious subject, not to be flippantly talked about. Where is Hell? Some may say that they think that we are in Hell now, but we neither are in a world absent of God nor separated from God’s presence. This side of Heaven and Hell, both Satan and God exist. We can still seek and know God. With that said, we have to realize that it can get worse than this. Our worse day on earth will not compare with the best day in Hell. Hell is a real place (topos) outside the boundaries of Heaven. Outside of everything that is “good”, everything that we were created for, and everything that has purpose. Hell knows nothing of anything that is “good” at all, because it is the complete absence of God’s presence. The kingdom of Heaven is a place where God’s dwells; where His presence exists. Hell represents a place where there is no God at all, because His presence does not exist that. Good cannot exist there.

Matthew 25:46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Hell is also outside the realm of conclusion. Can you imagine a punishment that never ends? And Hell is outside the realm of conclusion, meaning that it goes on forever. Can you imagine a punishment that never ends. Max Lucado writes: “Destroy. Perish. Don’t such words imply and end to suffering? I wish that I could say they do. There is no point on which I’d more gladly be wrong than the eternal duration of hell.” Revelation 14:11 tells us:  “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.” The sentence will never conclude. It will just continue to happen. There is no parole, just eternal torment without end, so Hell is the absence of hope. No hope that it will get ant better and no hope for rescue. It would be easier to preach that love conquers everything. Some say that nobody s going to Hell, but then what to you do with Jesus’ words? What do you do with the reality of holy Scripture? Do we ignore them and pretend that they don’t exist? Sadly, many do. That is not reality! Jesus refused to minimalize this topic. It was so important that we realize the depth of Hell that it causes us to act. Do we want our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to live without hope, without goodness and in eternal agony for their sins? It’s that serious!  So Jesus talks to us about it.

Psalm 81:15Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their
punishment would last forever.”

I shall pick up again from Pastor’s Sermon from here on the next post.
In Christ, Brain

Saturday, March 16, 2013

SAVED … FROM WHAT … TO WHAT - Part One (From Hell)

John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

My late mentor Bill Stiles had a mantra that “you don’t know what you are “saved to”, until you know what you have been “saved from”. Likewise, the late Pastor D. James Kennedy had a mantra that “you have to know that you are “lost”, before you can be “found”. Think about it. If someone comes up and tells you that they are going to save your life from some life-threatening danger when you do not believe that your life is in danger at all, what would you think and say? Save me … from what!? I’m not lost! What Pastor Kennedy and Mr. Stiles were talking about was hell and heaven. Where is life taking us? Not sure where we are going? Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven? The direction of our life is determined by the choices that we make. 

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Pastor JJ comes to the conclusion of his Sunday Sermon series based upon the Max Lucado book, “John 3:16 – the Numbers of Hope”, on ground that many churches fear and refuse to tread ... the subject and existence of hell. But he explained that as we look at Holy Scripture, we see that there truly are only two destinations in which we will all arrive one day. We get to choose and each of us is headed in one of the two directions. Some will perish and some will live. The Lord Jesus tells us simply that these are the two destinations that we have as choices, in John 3:16.  Do you know which way you are headed today? To perish in Hell is a subject that none of us like to talk about. It’s not a “feel good” type of topic to discuss, is it? But Jesus wasn't afraid to touch this hot topic. There are some that don’t want anything to do with God and His sovereign authority, and dedicate their whole lives trying to avoid God and His Word, Will and Ways for their lives. But, by God’s love and mercy, He continues to show up in their lives, trying and get their attention, and the people continue to avoid God, ignore Him and look the other way. They refuse to see or hear the way that God was leading them, so they turn their backs and walk the other way, refusing to know and have a relationship with their Creator God.

Matthew 10:28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Society has a tendency and bent to make casual the serious issue of Hell, turning this reality into an adjective in their live (i.e. “That was a hell of a game!”). But, when we casualize anything, we minimize it, regarding it less important than it really is. We make it, in our minds, not that big-of-a-deal in our lives anymore. The “fire and brimstone” Hell of the Bible is thought to be just for those who like to be afraid of stuff. Our culture casualizes Hell, to minimize Hell, so that we can trivialize Hell and ultimately sanitize Hell. People try to keep their eternal destiny from having any affect at all, keep Hell from being real and tangible in their life. Can anyone believe in eternal punishment? Would a loving God send anyone to Hell? A holy and just God must punish sin. But the God-rejecting world sanitizes their “just” rewards and their wages of sin against their Maker by looking over the fact that Hell exists and why.  Or, at worse, they may believe that Hell is where the “party people” go, trying to make it less powerful and effective than it truly is. But the fact is that there is nothing “good” in Hell. To talk lightly about Hell is to not grasp the gravity of this place and subject, because we are talking about nothing less than being eternally separated from the God of the Universe and there is nothing more serious than that.

I shall pick up Pastor's Sermon from here on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Goddaughter's Baptism Day

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Back on March 14, 1999, my wife and I stood up together before the church with our wonderful little 8 year old goddaughter, as she committed herself and her life to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in her Baptism ceremony in front of the congregation of our church. Moments before the Baptism service, in a Sunday school room, Tiffanie prayed a special covenant prayer that I wrote for her: Jesus come into my heart and forgive my sins. Be my Lord and I will follow you all the days of my life. I accept the free gift of eternal life with you in Heaven and the Holy Spirit within me, to guide me, today. I will love you, obey you, serve you, trust you and praise you always. Amen.” I wish that I could share with you the feelings of love, joy and thanksgivings to be a part of this moment of Salvation and life commitment of this precious young lady – a Child of God. My knees were literally shaking at the gravity of the moment of her decision to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Today, I simply like to honor my priceless goddaughter and her decision for Christ, 14 years ago today. Glory be to God!

Proverbs 16:1-3 The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.


In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Isaiah 55:11So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

One of my favorite neon signs is the message in the front window of our pizza parlor of choice in Oakhurst, California called “Pizza Factory”, but everyone who has been around this gourmet pizzeria from its early days calls it “Danny’s”, after the original founder. Besides a “killer great” pizza, his sign stating simply: “GET IN HERE” shines the message of the “down home” atmosphere that keeps us coming back for more and more because beyond the quality taste is the quality of feeling that you “belong”.

This is exactly the same quality that we strive for every Friday, in our small group home Bible Study Fellowship. If you are not a member of some Small group, Sunday school or mid-week Bible Study group, I encourage you to “get in here”! Seek and find a group in your church, or in your neighborhood, or at a friends. Then you shall see and feel the warmth and strength of learning the Word and doing the Ways of the Lord together with Christian brothers and sisters in a homey “belonging” ambiance.  Make it a part of your personal spiritual growth, just like church attendance, personal devotion and prayer time, reading your bible, et cetera in pursuing the virtuous life of the growing child of God, with the people of God. If you were looking for a sign, here it is: “GET IN HERE” and start feeling the love.

2 Timothy 3:14-17But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Your Communication With God

John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Our church has taken the Bibles out of the Pews in the Sanctuary. Those long wooden benches seating, called Pews, have racks on the back that would hold Attendance/Comment cards, little pens or pencils, and the Bibles. Pastor JJ says that it is one thing to recite Scripture, but there is something extraordinary when you see the words actually written on the page that makes it more real, to some extent. He feels that we need to read through the verses and see for ourselves.
Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

That’s why he is such a big fan of having personal Bibles and bringing them to church with us each week ... to the point of giving them out to anyone who doesn't or needs to have one. He encourages us to bring our own Bible to the Sunday service, but if someone doesn't have a Bible, then the church provides them with one. If someone forgot to bring their personal Bible and just needs to borrow one for the worship service, then they can leave the borrowed Bible in the rack on the back of the Pew at the end. So the church’s Pew Bibles were removed, to reinforce this message.

Luke 8:21 But He (Jesus) answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Pastor makes an announcement at the beginning of each Service about this giving of Bibles to anyone who needs one, because he wants it announced, wants it known, and wants it proclaimed here and now that we need the Word of God in our life. Because everything that we need to know, and that God wants us to know, is written in this book. Because God wants to have a relationship with us, and if we are not in the Word of God, if we do not have a copy for ourself and make it our conversation with God, then we are missing out. That’s why he makes such a big deal about it each week. It’s that important.

2 Timothy 3:14-17  “You must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Family of God

John 19:26-27 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

Our church is preparing our hearts (and the hearts of others in our lives) for Resurrection Day (aka Easter) this year with a Sunday sermon series on the “Ministry of Restoration” through the seven statements from the Cross by Jesus, where HE conquered sin and death, and paid the debt for us. God wants to make our crooked, messed up, sinful pasts straight again.
Christ looked out on all humanity with the offer of forgiveness of sin, reconciliation of our relationship separation and restoration back to God in our lives. Pastor JJ is taking a passionate exploration into the deeper meaning behind the last words of the Lord to us, “diving in” for a better understanding of being in God’s family. Family, when functioning “rightly, is a love, togetherness, warmth, trust, tradition, support, rich with closeness and intimacy. A healthy family is a place that we can be comfortable, being “at home”, where we enjoy our time; a place that we can go to be cared for by people that we know care about us, who have our best interests at heart. Jesus makes a warm, caring statement about the value and the nature of “family”. At the heart of what is said on the cross is the Lord’s desire to restore family, because God uses “Family” to bring about His way on this earth, for the Cross was forgiveness and forgiveness is restoration.

John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The family of God is a new structure of brothers and sister in Christ. The church is the “body of Christ”, our family for the child of God. Church, come home to Jesus with a shifted identity from this broken world. The family of God has a biological bond, in communion (Christian fellowship that shares and exchanges ides) tied together by what Christ did on the cross. Jesus looked beyond His pain on that cross, that we may draw closer together and be a part of what God is ding in the world today. Jesus did not ignore His own pain, but, in love, chose to notice the pain of others. It was the great price paid, that we may live. Welcome to the family … a family defined by the Lord.

Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

In Christ, Brian

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lord, Remember Me

Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him,  “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Our Pastor was on a vacation the other week, so our church was blessed and honored to hear a Sermon by visiting Pastor Rich Holt on Sunday, preaching on “Last Lines from the Cross”. He explained that when we hear last lines spoken, they are carefully picked words and instructions, meant to be understood and meant to be obeyed. We must always remember that Christ came for a purpose, and that purpose is “us”. And how we love Jesus’ beloved words here to the thief on the cross, that surely and immediately he would be in the presence of the Lord in Heaven, guaranteed that day, in the moment that he passed from this world to the next. But less noticed, yet as important to us, are the faithful words of the thief. Let’s take a look.

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

There was no “Sinner’s Prayer” of repentance for forgiveness of sin and salvation through Jesus … or was there? Let us see what we discover by his words from the cross to the other thief and to Jesus. (1) He believed that the soul didn't parish with the body. (2) He believed that there was another world for rewarding and punishing. (3) He believed that Jesus had a right to the kingdom of heaven and authority over it. (4) He believed that Christ’s kingdom was a better world than this evil world. (5) He believed that Jesus was the key to the kingdom. (6) He confessed that he deserved everything coming to him by his lawless thoughts, words and actions in life. (7) He believed that Jesus would bestow forgiveness, salvation and eternal life to those who repent, confess Christ as Lord and Savior with their mouth and believe in their heart sincerely. (7) He asks the Lord for that forgiveness, salvation and eternal life by His mercy and grace, in confident and sure faith, asking Jesus to remember him, when He came into His kingdom. And (8) He rolled his whole soul upon the Savior for that eternal salvation. His faith was credited to him as righteousness and the atoning blood of Christ covered him that day.

John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

It is my prayer that we all know how to get to heaven, that we understand and agree, that we confess and repent our sins, that we confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and be saved, as we, ourselves, say “Lord, remember me”.

In Christ, Brian