Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Ultimate Victory

I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord. What needest thou?  All I need is thee.  All things pale in comparison to fellowship with our Father and his son Jesus Christ. God has called us to commit that which we have heard unto faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.

The miracle of Pentecost was the Pentecostal gift... not the gift of cloven tongues of fire but the Pentecostal gift of hearing.   The miracle is that all heard the Pentecostal message in their own language.  Our prayer is that we hear and understand the voice of God in our own language.  Oh for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!  God inhabits the praise of his saints.  The antidote to anxiety is to praise God.  Jesus Christ is the purpose of the universe...  all things were created by him and for him.  Jesus Christ was and is God's eternal plan for redemption.  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:18-24   For the wrath of God is revealed unto all men...  for God has shown to them all things that were created by God...  because though they knew God they did not glorify him as God and were unthankful...  Their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.  They worshipped the creation rather than the creator who is blessed forever. Therefore God gave them up...  to a debased (depraved) and perverted mind.  Their thinking was completely off the reservation.  They removed all trace elements of God in their culture.  However If you judge others, you are also inexcusable.  Who art thou that judgest?  In judging you are judged in return.  An impenitent heart builds up wrath against the day of judgement.  Only God the righteous judge can judge.  The standard for judgement is the Word of God.

God told Noah of the impending flood.  Though Noah had never seen rain from heaven, he believed God at his word.  Noah preached God's deliverance for over a hundred years.  God will provide a way of escape, a way of salvation, a way of redemption.  God always works with his remnant.  God works with his remnant to save the city.  The remnant is where the seeds are for the ensuing believing generations. God doesn't need the majority.  Power is not in the majority of men.  The balance of power is not in a plurality of the people, but rather in the singular power of His mighty hand.

Hebrews 11 records God's hall of faith.  Many were delivered miraculously by God's providence.  However, the ultimate victory is not deliverance in this life.  There is a pivot point in Hebrews 11 verse 23:  others were tortured and were martyred that they may obtain a better out resurrection from among the dead. The Holy Spirit restrains the adversary from overtaking the culture.  The brief shining moment of the glory of God in the United States is waning for want of the the heart of God's men dedicated to his truth.

Three reasons for rejection of The Lord:
1.  Ignorance
2.  Pride
3.  Loving the darkness of sin rather than the light.  Those who love the darkness will not be able to discern right from wrong resulting in certain death.

Revelation 20 is about the great white throne  judgement:  There will be a reading of the life of each individual.  There will also be a reading of the book of life.  Names are either written in the book of death or the book of life.  The second death is reserved for those whose names are not written in the book of life. He who sits on the throne will make all things new.  He is our savior and our friend.  He will give the fountain of life forever. Rev 21:8.  This is the inflection point:  the change of direction  This is the list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of  God.  Do not fear those who can kill your body but rather those who can cast your soul into hell. After the crucifixion, Mary came to Jesus' tomb and pleaded to the man at the entrance, "they have taken my Master, where have they taken him."  She  recognized the man as Jesus when he called her name and said, "Mary."  There is no fear in love, for perfect love casteth out fear.  Mary was the first missionary of Christ after the resurrection.  Jesus said, "Go and tell."

If you're lost, you're still in the game.  However, Once you've perished there is no hope.  Perish in the Hebrew means the opposite of redemption.  Perishing in Hell:  To be in solitary isolation, increasing continuously multiplying eternal aloneness.  A black hole:  the continuous implosion into vacuous nothingness...  the total eternal collapse into darkness from which not even light can escape.  A continuous implosion under the weight of its own gravity.  Fellowship is the antithesis of aloneness.  Fellowship is why God called us to the body of Christ.  Christianity is about relationships...  the way of a father with his son...  the way of a son with his brothers. The way of brothers in Christ together in fellowship as a band of brothers. Are you all in?  Whom do you serve?  Ye are slaves to whom you obey.  To whom do you pledge allegiance?  Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, as for me and my house we shall serve The Lord.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Saturday, August 30, 2014

All I Need is Thee

In the midst of the turmoil of this world, the fellowship of Men of God prepares our hearts for such a time as this.  Our Band of Brothers, as men of God, reminds us not who we are but whose we are. The theme of Christian Men’s groups are training God's men in a culture that is turning against the virtuous principles established by God in his Word. We need not lament that men and the hearts and cultures of men turn against the Truth of the Word. This is the same situation as in 2 Chronicles chapter 20, when the sons of Moab and Amon stood against Jehoshaphat , king of Judah, and the armies of the Living God.  “Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve, as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.”

God is preparing his people.  He forewarns them about the coming storm.  As in the days of Noah, God prepared the hearts of his Remnant with a way of escape, a way of salvation.  This boat, this train is bound for glory. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is able who will not suffer ye to be tempted above that which ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

In the midst of the darkness of troubled times, when the church is persecuted and has gone underground, the message will be to prepare men of God to become prisoners of God (a good thing). God works best with nothing.  If we think we are blessed by the abundance of material blessings, for many of us there will be a rude awakening.  "Cataclysmic failures" in the world's eyes are often God's greatest victories.  These are "come to Jesus moments."  When there is nothing else to live for:  my house, my job, my family, my stuff...  God will confront you and me as he did when he challenged Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice.  In this cataclysmic day of reckoning the question is...  "loveth thou me more than these?" The  apostle Paul received his greatest revelation while in chains.  Bunyan wrote the great work Pilgrim's Progress inside the walls of a prison cell.  All I need is thee.  Make me a captive Lord, and then I shall be free.  Force me to render up my sword and I shall conqueror be.  I sink in life's alarms, if  by my strength I stand, Imprison me within thine arms, and free shall be my stand.

Abraham Lincoln said before the civil war, "America is wanting for a definition of Freedom.  Jesus said, "ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."  He also said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father except by me.  The Word of God is the complete opposite of message of the world.  The ultimate freedom is in the ultimate captivity.  Did we in our own strength confide, our battle would be loosing.  As he died to make men holy we must live to make men free.  We must prepare our hearts to be willing to die for the things worth living for to live for the things worth dying for.  I have decided to follow Jesus... no turning back, no turning back. Jesus said, "he who loses his life for my sake shall find it and he who finds his life for my sake shall lose it."  I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Friday, August 29, 2014

Political Correctness

Michael, from my Friday night small group Bible Study, has been writing Christian messages from notes that he has taken in his weekly Men's Christian group and emails to share them out to people within the church who were not there. I like to post a block of them for you to get a chance to catch a glimpse of this dear man of God's heart and feel his love for the Lord.

Micheal writes; Our challenge is to view the “politically correct” culture of this world from God’s heavenly vantage point, for we have been seated with Him in the heavenlies. To keep our compass aligned to true north, we must remember not who we are, but whose we are.  I was crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me.

The culture and its PC Police will scoff and scorn those who do not bow down to the doctrines of secular humanism, egotism, hedonism, moral relativism, and instant self gratification.  According to Jesus, “blessed are they when men shall revile you, and persecute you for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven.”  In this fallen world, we will have tribulation.  However, Jesus said, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  Meditating on the Word is the key to keeping our heavenly perspective to see the world through the lens of truth. 

The theme of Psalm 2 is that despite man’s vain attempt at ridiculing truth and the integrity of the Word, God is still on the throne, he is still sovereign, he is still in control. The context of this Psalm is the culture of the times when David penned these words. Our culture is similar to those dark days:  Man has denounced God's authority and has exalted himself to sit on the throne in opposition to God's divine authority.  Thinking themselves to be wise, they became fools.  

Psalm 2:1-12 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against The Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth upon the heavens shall laugh:  The Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree:  The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shall dash them into pieces like a potter's vessel.  Be wise now therefore O ye kings:  be instructed O ye judges of the earth.  Serve The Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are they that put their trust in him.  

As Shakespeare said, "He who laughs last, laughs best." God said to His prophet Jeremiah before he pronounced judgement upon Israel:  Be not afraid of their faces...  for I am with thee to deliver thee saith the Lord.  As followers of God through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit our challenge is to walk in the confidence of the path of righteousness.  Jesus Christ is the narrow way; he is the way, the truth and the light. Jesus came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.  We are not called to deliver the world from the darkness of sin and iniquity.  Rather we are called to introduce sinners to the savior from sin.  As John the Baptist said, I'm not the bridegroom, but while the bride groom is present, my duty is to introduce the Bride of Christ to her bridegroom.  I must decrease that he might increase.

We must ask ourselves, "are we trusting enough to keep our hearts, our actions, and our tongues righteous before the Lord in the face of man's accusations...  when the politically correct twist the truth to pronounce evil good and good evil?"  To stand against the political correctness of this world, we must remember the political correctness of our heavenly homeland, for we are citizens of heaven.  The apostle Paul said, "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."  Abraham Lincoln said that the best way to defeat your enemy is to make him your friend.  In the darkness of the times, God has called us for such a time as this... to bear the light of the Truth of Jesus Christ.  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  For we have this treasure (the light of the Holy Spirit) in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When Fear Knocks

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”

John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

God, Can you get that door for me? Thanks.
In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Make Your Life Count for Something – Part 2

Let’s continue now with Pastor Steve Reddens’ Sermon based upon the lessons and applications for our lives from this wonderful passage of Scripture.

2 Kings 4:5-7 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”

God’s standards are for our benefit and joy of life. Are we ready? The truth is that we’ll never be ready, so we need to step out in faith and get involved with ministry. It’s easy to say, “I don’t like it, it’s not for me” or make comparisons like, “I don’t need to because I am not as bad as others.” We may even try to swing a deal with the Creator of the universe saying, “God, if you do this or that for me, then I’ll obey and follow.” If I do not like it, it is I who has the problem. We need to build relationships and reach others with the love of Christ and bring them to church because both we and they need to. We cannot postpone this ministry of the Lord saying, When I get to the next level, then I’ll give myself.” The woman in this Bible passage didn’t get one empty jar and try it out on some test run. She trusted God to provide and got many empty buckets as told. And once all the last jars were full, God's work was done. God did it, but to the level of her truth. She had no ability to do what was done. It’s about what God does and about what we do.

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Salvation belongs to the God, but we must work in life in light of it. It all depends on God and it all depends on us. Get going, make your life count for something. You heard the term, “Let go and Let God”, well, we need to “Get going and Let God.”

Pastor Steve Reddens
Crosspoint Church
Temecula, California

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Make Your Life Count for Something – Part 1

 2 Kings 4:1-2 A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.” So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
We had a guest pastor Steve Redden preach this last Sunday; our pastor’s pastor back-in-the-day. Pastor Redden pointed out a central element of this passage in that the husband of this woman “feared the Lord”, following God in reverential adoration, yet he died. On this side of heaven there is no “prosperity gospel” and the reality is that all hell can break loose at any time that will scar the snot out of us. Trials, tribulations, disasters and evil deeds happen and that’s reality in this “fallen” world. This poor woman was faced with no social security or welfare in life, just challenges and problems in daily existence. The Prophet Elisha graciously asks her: “What can I do to help you?” and immediately follows with the question: What do you have in your house?” Not someone else’s house. Tell me, what are your resources, your supply, your talents, your skills, and ability. The woman plays the “comparison game“ and states that she has nothing … except a jar of oil. There is a temptation today to look at what others have and feel powerless. We even make assumptions of what everyone else has, when it not reality. We think that everyone else has more, but it is not true. We have a tendency to think that those who have more are stable and happier, but they are not. God wants us to be content and to use what we have in life. The question is: “Am I ready?”

2 Kings 4:3-4 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”

Elisha says, “Go get empty jars.” We have buckets full of sin and temptations in our lives that we play games with God. We need to unpack them and deal with the addictions and idols to empty our buckets of sin. But, we must realize also that there are some good things in our lives that are not helping us and in the way of God’s plan for our life that need to changed sometimes in order for us to pour in God’s provision. Giving up preferences, comforts, power, expectations, perks and privileges for God’s purposes and what He wants us to do here. Either way, we can remember what a struggle it was to empty them out, but what a joy after because there was now room for God and He poured Himself in.  It is the health and stability of being establish in true relationship with our Maker. And think of this: Jesus Christ emptied Himself and saved the world! The Lord is telling us to “get more jars and not just a few”. When God speaks to us clearly, then we need to do what we are told. Naturally, following and obeying Jesus is harder when times are hard. Will we follow Jesus even if people make fun of us? Will we trust Him? Will we take a risk and believe God?
We’ll hear the rest of Pastor Steve’s message on the next post.

In Christ, Brian

Monday, August 25, 2014

Anxious for Nothing

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Another one of these "Keep Calm" signs. Far too often we let the fast pace “rat race” world of living in the trendy fast lane, chasing rainbows dictate our priorities and find that high anxiety as our reward. Avoid distractions and pursue the kingdom of God on His highway to heaven, and tell the Lord your dreams and desires with grateful thanksgiving with an eye on eternity always.

Mark 4:19All too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.

In Christ, Brian

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beyond the Door

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

What comforting words for our small group Bible study group this week! Our lesson on “Life, Death and Life after Death” explained that a comprehensive study of the whole of Holy Scripture indicates that within every human body is a soul, the spirit of man, which lives on after the body dies. The question is, where does the soul of the child of God go beyond the door of this mortal life?  If death involves the separation of soul from body, what happens to the soul, the spirit of man, after the body dies? 1 Corinthians 15:20-22But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” But, if we bear the image of Jesus, do we have the same natural body in heaven? What is the resurrection of the body still to came?

1 Corinthians 15:42-47 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.”

Contrary to the blind atheistic secular humanist implications of no resurrection based upon believing that everything ends for an individual with the tomb, the coffin, and the ashes, what is the reality of the true salvation and resurrection in Christ? Immortality in heaven with our Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:1-8 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
The lesson concludes that, this side of heaven, death is hard because the separation seems so permanent. A loved one is gone. No more talking, seeing or touching. Our lives are changed, and its difficult to adjust to the gaping hole that person’s absence has created. But, though out of reach, that person still exists; death is not the end. They are with the Lord; not a disembodied, unrecognizable spirit, but the person who lived once in a mortal body, now in an immortal, spiritual body. We who truly trust in Jesus Christ don’t grieve over death as others who have no hope. Philippians 1:21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” And so we eagerly wait the redemption of our bodies beyond the door. A resurrection is coming. Mortal will put on immortality. Death will be swallowed up in victory. You and I will live forever and ever with our loving Creator God.

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

In Christ, Brian

Thursday, August 21, 2014


1 Peter 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

I have not been writing about it much, but every Wednesday night I facilitate a topical study group at our church, currently in a series  from 1993 by Christian Family Psychologist Gary Smalley on developing and maintaining loving relationships in our life. This week, our lesson was on “Treasure Hunting”. Simply, transforming potentially destructive experiences into constructive, positive experiences. This immediately, reminds me of the Bible verse - James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

When you take the attitude of “I wonder what God is going to teach me through this experience”, then you anticipate and seek out those gold nuggets in the situation. Dr. Smalley gives us five steps to take when hit with a trail in life. (1) Don’t over-react emotionally; step back, take a breath and take inventory of what’s actually happening. My wise father told me that he would always stop and ask himself, “What will this matter one, five, and ten years from now?” and that would help bring the issue into proper perspective. (2) Avoid concentrating or obsessing on what you’re losing or being denied. The English word “trial” translates in Chinese to the phase “door of opportunity”. Think about opportunities that arise and learning that you may gain. As my dear cousin Laura always said, "Flip it". 

Psalm 19:9-11The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.

Dr. Smalley states that if we can reverse our thinking from all that we’re losing at all that we’ll eventually gain, we’ll become a much more positive person, and everything in our lives will improve … including our relationships. (3) Avoid the blame game. We should beat ourselves up over mistakes we’ve made, or any personal losses or possible mistreatment we might have received. If we can avoid shame and blame, our recovery ill be much quicker. Say, “O.K., this happened to me, now what can I do to make it better?” Just knowing that some good will come from an experience helps to calm our thinking and relax our nerves. (4) Allow yourself to grieve over any pain from discomforting experiences. It is important to allow yourself to figure our what took place, analyze how it makes you feel, and feel the pain associated with the event. By not taking this step, you can fall into denial and stuff the feelings so deep that you think you’ve solved the problem. If you don’t allow yourself to grieve, the pain will manifest itself in some other area … an area that may keep your relationship from developing the intimacy you want to achieve. (5) Begin to treasure hunt as soon as possible and as long as you are able. Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. Seek the gold nuggets in every situation. We will have a victory over our pain when we feel the benefits of the event, feelings of greater love and self worth, increased appreciation of life, increased love and compassion. Treasure hunting is transforming “bitter” into “better”. When you’re bitter, you’re angry and feel low self-worth. When you’re better, you feel grateful and enjoy an elevated sense of self-esteem.

In Christ, Brian

Keep Calm and Read your Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17 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.

Keeping with the "Keep Claim" theme that is sweeping the nation, what better way to discover tranquility than the peaceful reading of the living Word of God; the Holy Scriptures of the Bible. The Book that is profitable for life because God's Word is truth.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Full Circle – Part 2

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

Pastor Obie continued to unpack the lessons that he learn for the story of his life. A musician friend invited him to go work at a Christian youth camp in Hawaii and it was there that he found and met the Lord. He found that the greatest gift that you can ever give someone is an invitation to know the One true living God. He found that it is so worth it to risk of being a fool for a moment in inviting someone to know the Lord for the slight chance that that someone may find eternal life. It is so worth it to step out of your comfort zone, for just a moment that someone you know may find forgiveness and salvation. Hope and pray for others to experience Christ and His Love. God transforms our doubt into a real relationship. We find that God deserves more than our Sundays; He deserves our everydays. When we connect with the Creator, our response is that we want to love Him back everyday in true relationship. We start digging into the Scriptures, praying and connecting with Him, because we wanted to know this God who loved us. This relationship changes our desires and who we are because He begins cleaning us up.  We don’t have to be cleaned up to come to Jesus. You don’t clean a fish before you catch it, and neither does the Lord. As a matter of fact, being a sinner is a pre-requisite. It starts with love and then the faith journey life process begins.

Proverbs 3:3-6 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

In American Public schools, atheistic science on Darwinian Evolution caused doubt of the intelligent design of God in Creation. But the unexplainable complexity of life and the universe reveals the fingerprints of our Creator as the Holy Spirit tugs at our heart. Life is not about purposeless random chance by survival of the fittest. Evidence supports the Bible account, so the logical decision is to follow the Lord. God has a plan and its way better than your plan or my plan. Nobody is a hopeless case for God. We are blessed to see a reward of eternal value in people coming to Christ. God brings things around in a circle and we see the amazing grace of God that Jesus Christ is a part of our family story. Obie’s dad was in a touring Christian band that evangelizes and ministers to people, and now Obie is in a touring Christian band that evangelizes and ministers to people. And he has come “full circle” as his band performed and preached the gospel on stage at the same Christian youth camp in Hawaii where he found and accepted the Lord himself so many years ago. His plans for our hope and future.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In Christ, Brian 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Full Circle – Part 1

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For the past three weeks, our pastors have been giving the congregation a sermon based upon their personal life’s story, telling us how they got to be where they are today, by the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even when they did know. Pastor Obie reminded us that by our 20-20 hind-sight, we see that the hand of God was there all along pushing and pulling us through because we are all created for a purpose. Some are raised in a Christian family and some are not; that is neither a pre-requisite nor a steadfast determining factor on if we choose His plan and walk with the Lord. Sometimes, we prefer the school of hard knocks to learn our lessons. Obie grew up with the support of the two M’s of music and ministry in his life. His father was in a Christian band and they supported his interest in music, along with being surrounded by great musicians. His father also played worship and praise music at the men’s “Promise-Keepers” conventions, so he seeing genuine worship.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

His message to parents was “your children watch the way you act and the way that you react. Every little thing you do is a model for your kids to follow. Do your best to model and build a foundation in Christ for your children. If it wasn't for that godly foundation set by his parents, he truly wouldn’t know where he would be today because of darkness. Though raised in the church all his life, through the sinful flesh, the influence of the God-rejecting world system and the subtle temptations of the devil, darkness of doubt crept in. On Sunday, he came to church but began to analyze God and doubted the claims of Christianity, becoming empty and “checked out” totally rooted in the sin of doubt to the point of doubting God’s existence. So, he started filling his life with other “dark” things and a destructive lifestyle. Hatred began to brew within because he was influence by bad people places and things. Bad company corrupts good character every time.  The friends that you walk with and your environment in which you walk will shape you. Right now, think about your five favorite people that you surround yourself with because they affect your outcome. You find yourself chasing fulfillment, but it hypocrisy because nothing on earth satisfies, except One.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

Creator Father God alone can satisfy and fulfill. Former atheist, converted Christian author C. S. Lewis wrote “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – Mere Christianity, and that “another world” is the kingdom of God. God’s hand reaches out for you and I. God starts working in and on our hearts. God shows His love and speaks to us through circumstances, Divine appointments, church, prayer, His holy Word, godly people and countless other ways. God loves us.

Let's hear the end of Pastor Obie's life story message on the next post.
In Christ, Brian

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keep Calm and Praise the Lord

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Have you seen these "Keep Calm" signs? They seem to be the latest craze. I saw them first start popping up on the desks of the Administrative Assistants at work. In the midst of a fast paced culture and life full of demands on our time, maybe a sign to Slow down, keep calm and make sure that our priorities are straight and in order is just what we need. 

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mortal Immortality

Job 14:5 “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass.”

Wow, here we are already into our third week of this six week study on the Christian perspective of “Life, Death and Live after Death” in our weekly Friday night Small Group Topical Bible Study. Some may that that study such a difficult biblical issue such as death would be complex and thorny subject to be avoided like the plague, but the context is about where you and I will go after our days on God’s’ green earth because that is the foundational perspective to build upon on this side of heaven. God is about life, not death, but we don’t ignore the reality of the full gospel message … that (as nasty as it is) we have been saved “from” something we deserved and have been (by grace) saved “to” something awesome. Our lesson explained that God let man know that the Messiah – the Anointed One who would crush the head of the serpent of old (Genesis 3:15), the Christ, would come. In the fullness of time god would send His Son, born of a virgin, born without sin, so that He might pay our debt of sin in full, offering us forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Sin and death may be a reality and we do not have control, but justification, sanctification and glorification through Jesus Christ conquers them both and changes our eternal destiny through the grace of our Creator Father, who is in control of everything. We tend to focus on the finite “here and now” in which we exist, but need to believe, being solidly and confidently established in the eternal perspective of the clear, undeniable and assured “here ever-after”.

Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”

Michael, in our group, told a story to illustrate the point … A man asked God; “What is a million years to you? God replied: “But a minute.” The man then asked God: “What is a million dollars to you? God replied: “But a penny.” So then the man said to God: “Give me a penny.” To which God replied: “In a minute”. This moment by moment carnal life is finite and fleeting, but eternity is infinite, so we need to live in anticipation of “maranatha”, which means “Come Lord”, because that perspective of this life’s journey defines the path. The fact that all are created by Creator God is not contingent upon our believing it, but because of the “Fall of Mankind” in sin and death, our eternity is contingent upon our believing the gospel truth of God’s “Plan of Salvation”. (1) Believe that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. (2) Believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead in “the Resurrection”?  Do you believe this?

John 11:24-26 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

The lesson concludes that when we get a full biblical understanding of God, of His character and sovereignty, knowing and embracing the truths that we learn from His Holy Word, the Bible brings great comfort, godly contentment and a spiritual peace. Because God is sovereign, He rules over all, including death. The resurrection of Jesus takes the pain and agony out of death. Death could not hold Him. “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25). We have certain hope because we have a Savior named Jesus!
Romans 8:10-11 “If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
As you consider this, beloved of God, remember that God is love … and so much more. He is holy, righteous, and perfect in all His ways. God can never act apart from the totality of who He is. Remember, the grave is not the end. There is a resurrection – a resurrection of the righteous to life and a resurrection of the wicked to eternal judgment.

1 Corinthians 15:40-44 “There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

In Christ, Bran

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Unknown Blessings

I remember hearing that not only do we need to thanks God for the many blessings in life that He has giving us and is going to bring into our lives, already on their way, but also for the bad things that He protects us from that we never end up seeing in our life because stopped them all before they could get here. These are unknown blessings too. Praise the Lord.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Real Life Story – Part 2


Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Picking up on Pastor Kyle’s Sunday Sermon message on our real life story, he reminds us that after the spiritual protection of the years before knowing the Lord, there came the spiritual appointment in the years meeting Jesus as Savior and Lord, which led to the spiritual blessings of walking with the Lord; truly being spiritually blessed in spite of ourselves. Great blessings come from fellowship with other Christians, small group Bible Study groups, volunteer groups, music ministry, children’s ministry and the challenge to commit to serve in ministry of the body of Christ’s church for life. We tend to think that deep hurts don’t affect us, but we either look for something for affirmation and comfort or can take it to Jesus. We all have issues, either by us or against us, but which one do you and I depend upon for our worth when we us our “sober judgment”? The Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the gift. Where does God what us to find our affirmation? Our affirmation comes from God. Understand that to deny God’s affirmation is to deny the grace of God.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Kyle clarifies that God has His pas all the way along this long and winding road. We learn so much about life along the way and that God’s hand was there all the time. We learn what it means to serve and to lead, even when we are not comfortable serving or leading. But God gives us seasons to take us out of our comfort zone in order to teach us something. Most ministry happens “behind the scenes”. God is working on us and we are supernaturally prepared by Him. God is in this with you and me. Pastor Kyle prays: “God, if You keep using me, I’ll keep showing up to work His Good Works. When you think about your own life story, I wonder if God’s supernatural protection, appointment, preparation and plans are seen and have blessed you too. May Jesus come in and be the Lord of your life as the plan unfolds.  

In Christ, Brian