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June 5, 2019, 1:00 PM

Today, I was Stopped Dead in My Tracks



Today, I was stopped dead in my tracks.  

I am blessed to be a full time pastor of a small country church named Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, near the metropolis of Six Mile, SC.  

I make the 35 minute drive from my house up to the church at least 5 times a week, most weeks.  Every time I get out of the car to walk in the church, I glance at the church cemetery as I walk up the steps into the church. 

 

Today, I was stopped dead in my tracks while looking at that cemetery.  

 

As I looked at those gravesites, I was struck with a reality that we all know, but seldom like to think about...people die.  Those souls are gone from this earth.  Their lives our over.  

Unless Christ returns in our lifetime, everyone reading these words, will go the way of the grave.  Only what you have done for Christ will remain.  

The dash on those tombstones, between the year of their birth and the year of their death represented their life story.  

 

Then it hit me...how much time do I have left?

 

Now, anyone who knows me at all knows that I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about my own inevitable death.  I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that when my time comes that I will be transported in a blink of an eye to the presence of my Savior!  

However on this day I stood frozen staring out at the grave yard and considered the prospect of the coming of the end of my life.  

While no man knows when their life will be over, I also know that the Bible says that our lives are but a vapor compared to eternity.  So, while I was not looking for answer to the question of how much time, I could not help but realize that my departure from this life is closer today that it was yesterday...time is running out. 

 

Then a second thought hit me.  What does my dash say about me? 

 

The second thought was not so much concerned with what people would think or say about me after I am gone, but instead prompted this third irresistible thought and desire:

 

I want more!

 

I don’t mean I want more time than what God is going to give me on this earth.  I know that I have an appointed amount of time that God has a will for me to have on this earth and I want no more or less.  I look forward to each day I have to live on this planet, along with the opportunities, and experiences that each day brings.  But, I also look forward to the time when I no longer have to deal with consequences and temptations of sin.  I look forward to one day living an eternal life in a perfect place with a perfect body.  I want to show her more that I am thankful every day that God had brought us together.  

What I do mean:

As a Husband I want more!  I want to experience more with my beautiful bride.  I want to make more of every opportunity and adventure we have together.  I want to have more passion for her.  I want to be more of an example of love and leadership.  I want to know her more.  I want her to know more just how much she means to me and how much our life together has meant to me.  I want her to know beyond any shadow of any doubt that I want to give her more from me.  

As a Father I want more.  I want to make the most of my time partnering with my wife to lead our children to become the Christ centered, God honoring, loving, compassionate, serving, adults they can possibly be.  I want to make more of the opportunities to teach, foster, lead, laugh, and enjoy the time with my children.  God has blessed me with 3 beautiful, wonderful children and I want them to know more how much they mean to me, and how much I love spending time with them.  

As a family member I want more.  As busy as my life can be, I don’t every want my parents, my brothers, my in-laws, my extended family to think I am to busy for them.  Too many times I feel like I come across that way or act that way and I don’t want that to be reality.  I want my parents to know how much I love them and that I am here for them and my brothers to know that I stand for them and care about them.  I care about their concerns, their battles, their struggles, as well as their victories.  I want my in-laws and extended family to know more how much I care about them and think of them, even if we don’t see each other all that often.  

As a Friend I want more.  I want more friends, I want to be more friendly, I want to be there more for my friends.  I want to be a help to my friends.  I want to be a blessing to my friends.  I want my friends to know more that I care about them.  I have been blessed with many memories of time spent with friends, but I want to make more of those memories.  I want to be more of what my friends need me to be as a friend.  

As a Pastor I want more.  I want to serve my church, and my community more.  I want to be more prepared to give and to feed the flock that God has entrusted me with.  I want to reach more people, not for my glory, but for the glory of God.  I want to find more ways to reach out and be used for God’s purposes.  I want to teach God’s people more about Him.  I want to teach them to reach out more for the glory of God.  I want to help them love more, serve more, and share the gospel more.  

 

As a Christian and Human being I want more.  It has been said that we have as much of God as we want.  Well I want more.  I realize that way to get more is by offering more of myself to Him.  

I want to pray more.  I want to read and study the Bible more.  I want to share the truth of the word of God more.  I want to understand more.  

I want to know more people.   To embrace more people.  To befriend more people.  To show more of God’s grace to more people.  

I want to smile more, release more joy, and demonstrate God’s love more.  

I want to lead more people to Him, and more people closer to Him.  

I want to be used more.  I want to love Him more.  I want to serve Him more.  

I want to know His love for me more.  

 

While I want more...I also want to be satisfied by God and God alone.  I want what He wants for me and for others.  I want His will to be done.  

 

While I want to be satisfied with what He has for me...I believe that He wants more for me.  

 

Ephesians 3:20 says:  “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that workers in us,”

 

God can do more than we can even think to ask...

 

There is one more thing I want: I want to know...

 

In this life, before it is over, what is it you want?  Are you ready for the end?  You can be.  I would love the chance to share with you more.  

 




May 14, 2019, 11:38 AM

5 Things You Will Never Hear God Say #5



God wants to speak to you.  He has things He wants you to know, and to believe.  

God will speak to you and if you are willing, you can hear Him and know that it is Him.  

If we are not careful it is easy to confuse the voice of the world with the voice of God

That is why I have been sharing with you 5 lies of the devil that people are often tempted to believe in today’s world.

God will never say to you in this life:

  1. I don’t love you 
  2. I can’t/won’t forgive you
  3. It’s okay if you don’t go to church.
  4. It’s too late.  

And ...

5.  You are good enough just like you are.  

 

There are many people who struggle with their innate goodness, and struggle to believe that God could ever love them, would ever want them, will forgive them, or use them for His purposes.  

There is another group of people who have believed the lie:  You are good enough. There is no reason to change.  God loves you just as you are.  

While it is certainly true that God loves you just as you are, that does not mean that we are to stay just as we are.  

 

God in His infinite and perfect love certainly loves everyone including those that we would consider unloveable or unlovely.  He is God and He will accept with arms open wide anyone that will turn to Him in repentance and faith.  He sent His son to die in the place of all of us, because all of us are sinners and therefore unacceptable to Him apart from the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  It is by His grace that we can be saved.  There is nothing we can do or ever will do to earn His salvation or deserve it.  

 

“As it is written, There is none righteous (good enough), no not one:

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12

 

Some people, believers, and even religions believe and teach, that if we just do enough good, we can somehow earn our way to heaven and live forever with God.  

 

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  

 

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (efforts to be good) are as filthy rags...” Isaiah 64:6

 

So it is clear that we cannot earn acceptance from God or be good enough to earn salvation.  But what about after we are saved?  Are we good enough then?

 

One who has repented of sin and been saved by grace through faith in what Jesus Christ did on the cross certainly is accepted by God.  But God did not save us just to abandon us as we are.  While there are many church songs that refer to coming to God just as we are, the truth is we can only come to God through his standard.  While we will never be perfect we are not to remain in one spot spiritually speaking.  We are not to just “get saved” and that be the end of it.  

Salvation is the beginning of the journey and is the first steps of a daily relationship with Christ.  

 

Once saved, God then begins the process of shaping us to become more like him.  While it is God that does the changing of our lives, we, if we are truly saved will be willing to allow him to shape and mold us, and not to resist this changing of our lives to match the change that has taken part in our heart.  

 

Once saved we are free from the power of sin (control of our lives), the penalty of sin (death and separation from God), but we are not free from the consequences of our sin.  And make no mistake, once we are saved we will still sin, but if saved we will change direction away from self and sin, to God as Lord and Master of our lives.  That does not mean we will not sin, but we aught to sin less and less as we change and mature, but also we confess our sin more immediately when we do sin.  

 

All that being said, we should not continue to live consistently in sin.  In response to the message of Grace being preached by Paul, some thought it was then permissible to continue to live just as they had before they accepted the Salvation of Christ.  Paul’s dramatic response can be found in Romans 6:

 

“What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid.  How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  Romans 6:1-2

 

In other words.  Grace is greater than our sin, and therefore even though we will sin, that sin is forgiven already by God through the shed blood of Jesus.  But it is not license to continue to stay just as you were.  We are changed by God!  We are new creations in Christ!  Therefore act like accordingly.  

 

We are to grow spiritually.  Just as a baby grows and changes into a child, a young person, and then an adult; so too are we to grow spiritually.  If a child does not grow and progress, then there is something wrong physically.  If we don’t change and grow spiritually, then there is a spiritual problem.  

 

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” I Peter 2:2

 

Just as baby drinks milk and grows, and then moves on to more solid food and eventually meat and complex foods, so too are we to do the same spiritually.  We are to change and grow, and to desire to do so.  

 

God loves us, He sent His son to die for us, He forgives us of all sin, and will forgive our future sins, but we are not to stay just as we are.  We are not good enough just like we are.  We are made new with a Godly nature, and we are constantly being changed by Him.  

 

Let him change us, seek to be changed by Him, and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 




May 13, 2019, 12:24 PM

5 Things You Will Never Hear God Say #4


Hearing and Knowing what God is speaking to us can be difficult.  

Confusing what the devil and the world are saying, with what God is saying can happen easily enough.  

 

These are the 3 things we have covered so far:  things the world/devil/sin might lead you to think that God would say...but he never would in this life. 

 

Things you will never hear God say in this life: 

1.  God will never say: I don’t love you

2.  God will never say: I can’t/won’t forgive you

3. God will never say:  Don’t Go to Chuch

 

Today we offer #4

 

In this life, God will never say to you: It’s too late.  

 

God loves‘ a you know matter what.  Because He loves you, He sent his Son to die in your place, paying your price of sin, so that He can forgive you of your sin if you ask Him to.  He loves you and is willing to save you so that He can use you for his purposes and kingdom.  God uses the church to communicate his love and to disciple His believers for their purposeful lives.  

 

There are many people who believe the lie - God does not love me, but they are wrong.

There are many people who believe the lie - God cannot forgive them for what they have done, but they are mistaken.  

There are many who believe the lie - God doesn’t care if I go to church or not, but they have been deceived.  

 

And there are many who believe the lie:

 

I have waited to long, it is to late for me to be saved. 

I believe it is true that, there are people who have rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit for so long, that they have become hardened in their heart to the Lord, even to the point where the Lord ceases to convict them of sin and stops knocking on the door of their heart.  

 

However if a person finds themselves wondering if they have reached that point, then they have not reached it.  While we should not delay our response to the Lord for salvation and to His convicting Spirit, if you had reached a point of a hard heart, you would not wonder.  You would not even consider it.   If you are wondering if it is to late for you to be saved, wonder no longer.  God will not say to you it is too late.  If it was you wouldn’t ask the question and you would not hear from God.  

 

On the other hand perhaps you are a believer, and you know that God wants you to do something for Him.  It might be a vocational calling, or it might be surrendering to the ministry of preaching or mission work or some other ministerial call, but you have put God off with an answer of no, delayed your response.  You think that God certainly could not use you now...that it is somehow to late, but you would be wrong.  It is never to late to answer the call of God for your life.  

 

Maybe you think that age or health have caused you to somehow lose the opportunity to answer God’s call to serve him.  Can I remind you that what God is calling you to, he will enable you and strengthen you to do it if you will trust in Him.  It is not to late, nor will you ever hear God say...too late.  

 

Maybe today you know there are friends, family members, or coworkers who God wants you to share the good news of the gospel with.  It is not too late. 

 

Yes, there are consequences to our making a choice of telling God no, or procrastinating in following His leading in our life, but that does not mean it is to late to make the right decision and do the right thing.  Don’t delay.  Don’t wait.  Do it now.  But it is never too late to do the right thing make the right decision.

 

God does not ask you to do something, and then say...never mind, too late.  

 

At least not in this life.  

 

There is a time when God will say too late.  There are times when it becomes to late.  

 

When our life is over, if we have not accepted His gift of salvation, and we face Him it will be too late to ask for forgiveness. 

 

When our life is over and we have not done what He asked us to do, it will be too late to answer the call.  

 

When that friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, etc.  slips into eternity and out of this life, it will be too late for us to share with them the good news of the Gospel. 

 

But in this life, God will never say too late.  

 




May 13, 2019, 11:36 AM

5 Things You Will Never Hear God Say #4


Hearing and Knowing what God is speaking to us can be difficult.  

Confusing what the devil and the world are saying, with what God is saying can happen easily enough.  

 

These are the 3 things we have covered so far:  things the world/devil/sin might lead you to think that God would say...but he never would in this life. 

 

Things you will never hear God say in this life: 

1.  God will never say: I don’t love you

2.  God will never say: I can’t/won’t forgive you

3. God will never say:  Don’t Go to Chuch

 

Today we offer #4

 

In this life, God will never say to you: It’s too late.  

 

God loves‘ a you know matter what.  Because He loves you, He sent his Son to die in your place, paying your price of sin, so that He can forgive you of your sin if you ask Him to.  He loves you and is willing to save you so that He can use you for his purposes and kingdom.  God uses the church to communicate his love and to disciple His believers for their purposeful lives.  

 

There are many people who believe the lie - God does not love me, but they are wrong.

There are many people who believe the lie - God cannot forgive them for what they have done, but they are mistaken.  

There are many who believe the lie - God doesn’t care if I go to church or not, but they have been deceived.  

 

And there are many who believe the lie:

 

I have waited to long, it is to late for me to be saved. 

I believe it is true that, there are people who have rejected the conviction of the Holy Spirit for so long, that they have become hardened in their heart to the Lord, even to the point where the Lord ceases to convict them of sin and stops knocking on the door of their heart.  

 

However if a person finds themselves wondering if they have reached that point, then they have not reached it.  While we should not delay our response to the Lord for salvation and to His convicting Spirit, if you had reached a point of a hard heart, you would not wonder.  You would not even consider it.   If you are wondering if it is to late for you to be saved, wonder no longer.  God will not say to you it is too late.  If it was you wouldn’t ask the question and you would not hear from God.  

 

On the other hand perhaps you are a believer, and you know that God wants you to do something for Him.  It might be a vocational calling, or it might be surrendering to the ministry of preaching or mission work or some other ministerial call, but you have put God off with an answer of no, delayed your response.  You think that God certainly could not use you now...that it is somehow to late, but you would be wrong.  It is never to late to answer the call of God for your life.  

 

Maybe you think that age or health have caused you to somehow lose the opportunity to answer God’s call to serve him.  Can I remind you that what God is calling you to, he will enable you and strengthen you to do it if you will trust in Him.  It is not to late, nor will you ever hear God say...too late.  

 

Maybe today you know there are friends, family members, or coworkers who God wants you to share the good news of the gospel with.  It is not too late. 

 

Yes, there are consequences to our making a choice of telling God no, or procrastinating in following His leading in our life, but that does not mean it is to late to make the right decision and do the right thing.  Don’t delay.  Don’t wait.  Do it now.  But it is never too late to do the right thing make the right decision.

 

God does not ask you to do something, and then say...never mind, too late.  

 

At least not in this life.  

 

There is a time when God will say too late.  There are times when it becomes to late.  

 

When our life is over, if we have not accepted His gift of salvation, and we face Him it will be too late to ask for forgiveness. 

 

When our life is over and we have not done what He asked us to do, it will be too late to answer the call.  

 

When that friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, etc.  slips into eternity and out of this life, it will be too late for us to share with them the good news of the Gospel. 

 

But in this life, God will never say too late.  

 




May 8, 2019, 10:00 AM

Called to Make All Men Hear...



“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:”

Ephesians 3:9

 

What if I told you you can share the love of God with hundreds of people every day, and invite many people to your church as well; and you could do it from your own home?  

Would you do it?

One of the great challenges of every believer, is learning how to and following through with sharing the good news of the Gospel.  

While there are many ways, and certainly we should utilize different methods, this is one that anyone can do using facebook.  

 

  1. Check in - each time you attend church or a church function “check - in” on your status on facebook.  You can then tag Pleasant Hill Baptist as your location.  If you like you can also add a comment to the status, or leave it blank.  It is that simple

 

  1. “Like” facebook posts from Pleasant Hill and Pastor Jonathan.  The more “likes” a post gets the more attention facebook will draw to the post.  Pleasant Hill will be making several posts each week on the Pleasant Hill Facebook Page and Pastor Jonathan’s Facebook page. (Devotional thoughts, sermon podcasts, Bible verses, etc.) 

 

  1. Comment on posts - again after “liking” the post, make a comment on the post.  Even if it is simply an “Amen” it helps.  The more comments a post has, the more attention Facebook will give it.  

 

  1. “Share” posts on your own page.  “Sharing” a post, takes a post from the church or pastor’s page and puts in on your page.  More “sharing” equals more attention Facebook will give to a post.  You have different facebook friends than pastor Jonathan or Pleasant Hill have.  When you share, your friends then can see the post which expands the audience.  When you “share”, you can change your “privacy” settings on the post to “public” if you want to make the post visible to more than just your facebook friends. 

 

  1. If you have a friend that you want to send a devotional thought or sermon podcast to that does not use facebook, you can also direct them to the church website.  There they can see the devotional blog as well as find the sermon podcasts and other information on church services, events and activities.   www.pleasanthillsbc.com 

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