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February 13, 2020, 11:59 AM

The God of the Impossible



Sometimes God sends you a message that seems impossible.  
Sometimes God asks you to do the un-fathomable. 
Sometimes God asks you to do the un-imaginable.
Always remember that with God, there is nothing that will be impossible.

In Luke 1, the angel Gabriel was sent to speak to Mary, and the angel told her that she would be the mother of a Jesus Christ.  

Now to Mary, (who was a young woman, was not married, and had never had a physical relationship with a man) this seemed impossible.  Yet, the angel told her with God all things are possible.  

So to, with us, God often comes with a message or a task that seems un-realistic.  We struggle with our faith, our courage, or knowledge, of how the things we are told can possibly be.  

So when that happens what are we to do?  

We are to remember that the same God who delivered a message and task to Mary and saw it through to fulfillment, is the same God that works in our lives today!

Just as he strengthened, and enabled Mary to fulfill her purpose as the mother of Jesus Christ, so too will he strengthen and enable you and me for what He has called us to.  

What He calls us to, He will lead us through.  No matter how impossible it may seem.

Because He is the God of the impossible. 

 




February 5, 2020, 10:00 AM

To Make a Difference



To make a difference in this world, we must be different!

Being a Bible believing Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, there are many troubling trends in this sin cursed world that disturb me.  However, as a pastor of a Sothern Baptist Church, I find some troubling trends in church circles even more disturbing.  Particularly troubling is the dramatic deline in attendance of most Christian church's, and not just in SBC church's.  

But even more disturbing than the decline in numbers attending and numbers of salvations, is  the solutions that many pastor's and leaders have turned to in order to "remain relevant" in today's society in order to reverse the downward dive in numerical results.

There is increasing pressure and momentum to "change with the times" or be perceived as archaic and be left behind.  

Many church's have changed their methodology and ministry philosophy in order to draw in the crowds.  

The music standards have changed, the "dress code" has changed, the message being preached either has been changed or is not far from being changed.  

Now before you jump to conclusions about me and this message, understand I am not opposed to having some lively music.  I am not suggesting we must stick only with the old hymns.  I am not saying we to keep with only piano's and organs.  Personally I like much of what many call contemporary music.  I like upbeat music as much or more than the next person.  In fact if I had my way, I think we aught to have a good mix of old hymns and newer praise music. 

I also am not saying you have to wear a suit and tie if you are a man, or skirt and dress if you are a lady.  At Pleasant Hill Baptist we have no such dress code.  in fact if you were to show up at our services you would find a range of dress spectrum from Overalls to three piece suits.  From dresses and skirts to khaki's and jeans.  My personal philosophy is that you aught to put thought into what you are wearing and be modest doing it. You are not going to be seen by man, but you will be seen by man as you go to worship God.  

So if you show up in shorts and flip flops, it does not bother me.  If you want to sing songs that are repetitive and make you want to lift your hands in the air, I am ok with that too.  

What I am not ok with is changing our church methodology to match that of secular world for the purpose of enticing the world to show up or so they can be comfortable in doing so.  I am not okay with changing methodology so that the church is able to entertain those that come inside it's doors.  

A major trend in church's is to make the church service more appealing by making it look and feel more like the world.  This is extremely troubling and it will not work.  When it comes to appealing to the flesh, we cannot win, nor should we be trying.  

I know the argument of many is that we appeal to them so they come in the doors, and then we blast them with truth of the gospel gun!  

Except that is called bait and switch and it really never works.  Once they realize what you goal is, they view you as disingenuous and go somewhere else where they can get entertained without having to be lectured by the Gospel.  

Church's that are successful in drawing in a crowd with entertainment quickly realize that they must keeping upping their game in order to keep the fickle crowds and must water down the message so that the people don't feel "lectured."

So what is the answer?

The Answer is found in the changed life that Christ has given you.  The answer is in being different than the rest of the world.  The answer is loving even if you are persecuted and hated.  The answer is going the extra mile even for those that take advantage of you.  The answer is loving your enemies, turning the other cheek, and responding to an angry word with a kind one.  

That is the kind of changed actions that people will respond to and take notice of.  People will take note of you being different than they expect you to be.  People will want to know why.  

That is the kind of change that God will honor, because it is the kind of change He is working out in us and calls us to.  

The story of Paul and the Philippians Jailer in Acts 16 describes just such a situation.

1.    Paul and Silas prayed to and praised God even though they were suffering - that is different!

2.  Paul and SIlas sang even though they were shackals and had been beaten, when most people would have been crying and complaining -that is different!

3.  Paul and Silas did not try to escape the prison when an earthquake loosed them from their bonds and broke open the doors when most people would have ran for their lives and freedom - that is different!

4. Paul and Silas stopped the jailer from harming himself, when ordinary prisoners would have attempted to harm him - that is different.  

What was the response of the Jailer?  He fell down before Paul and Silas and begged them to tell him how to be saved!  Not only that, but his whole family came to Christ as well.  He then treated their wounds and fed them in his house and praised God with them!

The trend to make our church's and life's more like the world in order to win the world is troubling and wrong because it does not work.  In fact the opposite is shown here to be true.  

But it is impossible to expect people to treat people the way that Paul and Silas did?  You are right, it is nearly impossible.

That is why we must remember that it is not so much what we do that draws people and wins people. It is what God does in us to draw and win people.  

I can do all things through Christ that Strenthens me...and he is calling us to be different.  

Talk different, walk different, act different, be different.  

In order to make a difference in this world for Christ I must be different.  

 




November 4, 2019, 11:00 AM

A Word to the Wise



 

This lesson is so critical today. It applies to school, sports, the workplace, the home, politics, church and just in life.  

Never stop growing and learning. Be coachable, teachable, and trainable.  Never reach a point where you think you have nothing else to learn. 

At the same time be careful who you allow to teach you.  The world will say to keep an open mind, but the Bible teaches us to be careful to whom you open your mind to.

Allow your mind to be open to enough to allow in the light of truth, but not so open that you invite an invasion of darkness.  




August 28, 2019, 1:18 PM

Think About This #4 - Matthew 26:14-15



Think about this...

For 30 pieces of silver, Judas (one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ) gave up those that he proclaimed to love, and that which he professed to believe.  

After over 3 years of following Jesus every day, Judas was beginning to learn that Jesus was not going to set up His kingdom on the earth at that time.  Perhaps Judas was tempted to believe that by betraying Jesus, he (Judas) was going to achieve his own agenda, and that which was really important to him.  

But in the end it cost Judas everything.  It cost him those that he loved, it cost him his dignity, it cost him his life, and it cost him his soul. 

1.  What is your cost?  What is your price?  What would it take for you to give up those that you proclaim to love or that which you claim to believe?

2.  What is the devil promised you,  to tempt you to give up what you profess to hold dear?

Whatever the price or promise is, rest assured the Devil is a cunning liar and cannot be believed.  

Also ask yourself this...

3.  What is it going to cost you to surrender to that temptation?

The answer just might be everything.  Just as it was for Judas.  




August 13, 2019, 2:17 PM

Think About This #3



Read John 11:21-33 and then ask think about this:

1.  What is it that you are blaming God for?

In vs. 21, Martha essentially blames Jesus for her brother dying.  Verse 1, tells us that Lazerous was sick, and that Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus to let him know and so that Jesus could come and heal their brother.  

Jesus then decides to stay where He is at for two day, before telling the disciples that Lazerous is dead before they pack up and head to the town of Bethany, where they find that Lazerous has been dead for four days.  The disciples are shocked by this news (perhaps at the apparent lack of urgency of Jesus to go and heal Lazerous, but Jesus says that it was for their benefit that 

(It is important to note that the journey from Bethany to where Jesus was, would take one day to travel and thus the journey from Jesus to Bethany a day of travel as well.  Thus when Jesus is told in verse 17 that Lazerous had been dead for four days, we are able to determine that Lazerous died before the messengers ever reached Jesus.)

Upon hearing that Jesus had arrived in town, Martha goes to him and essentially blames him not being there to prevent Lazerous from dying.

Which brings me back to my question: What is it you are blaming God for?

Somtimes in life things don’t go they way we would like, or the way we planned.  When this happens, there are times, that a person might blame God for allowing those things to happen.  If that has happened in your life, you are not alone.  Moses, Elijah, David, Job and many others questioned God at various times in their life.  “God, where are you”, why did this happen”,  “it’s not fair” , “ why me”, and “when are you going to do something”, are all questions we might ask at various times in our life.

With that in mind I would like to point out two more things to consider from this passage:

1.  Jesus did not rebuke Martha for blaming him.  

He understood her frustration, pain, and grief.  God has big enough shoulders to handle your questions.  He understands our feelings of frustration when things don’t go the way we wanted.  Don’t be afraid to turn to God in times of hurt and frustration to ask Him, that is part of the reason that He allows things in our life, to draw our attention to Himself.”

Don’t be afraid to turn to God humbly in prayer with your hurts, fears, frustrations, and questions.  

2.  Jesus had a reason for not being there to prevent Lazerous from dying.

In verse 15 tells us the reason, “to the intent that ye may believe.”  Jesus knew that by delaying the use of His healing power and even foreknowledge of Lazerous condition, (He certainly knew of Lazerous impending sickness before the messengers ever showed up to late, because He is all knowing God) that He would have a greater impact upon their faith by raising Lazerous from the dead.  

God knew what He was doing with and through the circumstances surrounding Lazerous life and death.  He knows what He is doing in your life.  

When you turn to God and He does not answer in the way you wanted, remember, He is about to do something even greater.  All things work together for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.  

So when you begin to blame God something in your heart, or out loud to others, don’t be afraid to turn to God and express your concerns yourself, but realize that God never says, “Oops!”  God is in control and although you may not yet realize it... He is about to do something greater than you can realize.  

 


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