Posts Tagged ‘quality of life’

A Light to Our Path

September 1, 2016

God has a plan and a purpose for our lives.  If we will let Him guide us, our lives will be rich and meaningful.

I.  A Light:  Psalms 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

If there is a power outage at night when we are home we suddenly find ourselves in the dark.  Maybe we have candles or a flashlight somewhere nearby. Or of course, maybe you have a flashlight app on your phone.  The point is we want to be able to have enough light to see where we are going.

We should allow the Word of God to be a light to our paths, to direct our steps.  When you walk in the dark, you might bump into something, or trip over something.  You might get hurt.  If you live your life by the instructions in the Bible, you are less likely to be hurt.

Life goes better when you follow the instructions.

II.  Open My Eyes:  Psalms 119:18

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.

The Bible should be read in an attitude of prayer.  We need God to open our eyes to the truths that are presented.  We need God to help us to understand and to apply the principles that are contained in the Word.

Even if we have been reading the Bible for decades, God can reveal wondrous things to us.

III.  Strengthen Me:  Psalms 119:28

My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Life can wear us out.

Spending time in the Word can bring new strength.

IV.  Sow in Tears:  Psalms 126:5-6

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.

Here in America we may not fully understand this imagery.  Our food is purchased in stores that, in our lifetime, have never had empty shelves.  We do not grow our own food.  We do not understand the imagery of taking seed that could be eaten today, and planting it in the ground hoping for a harvest in the future.

There is a way that this illustration makes more sense to us.  If we remember the parable of the sower and the seed from the gospels.  In this parable the seed is the Word of God that we share with people and some respond in faith.  We share the Word in tears, maybe not literally, but with a breaking heart, hoping that people will receive the good news of salvation in Christ.   When people do respond to the Word with faith in Jesus, we, together with the angels in heaven, rejoice in the salvation of another person.

V.  Unless the Lord:  Psalms 127:1

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

Whatever our life’s work, we need God to help us.  We use the skills and opportunities that God gives to us to complete the work that God has planned for us.  It is a dual effort.  We must do our part, but we need God to bless our efforts.

God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.  We should ask God to direct our steps, open our eyes, give us strength and bless our efforts.

It is a wonderful thing to be living in accordance to the will of God for our lives.

These are the sermon notes from 8/28/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

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Transformational Love

July 5, 2016

The message today is an odd mixture of fear and hope.  I suppose that is not so strange, there is an ongoing tension between the law and the gospel.

I.  Deny Him:  Tits 1:16

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

I wonder how many of the people professing Christianity today could have this statement applied to them?

I wonder how serious is this problem?

Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This sounds serious to me.  It is made even more serious because the verses here in Matthew sound like they could be applied to Pentecostal pastors.

I am a Pentecostal pastor.

Now, I do not believe for a moment that we earn our salvation by our works.  Salvation is by grace, through faith.  It is a gift from God.

However, a living faith is transformational.  If we have a living faith our lives will be changed.

What sort of changes should take place?

II.  The Works of the Flesh:  Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Now the idea here is not to look at this list and focus on the things that are not a problem for us.  Rather, we look at the list and see if there are areas that need improvement.  We do not excuse our behavior, we repent and ask God help us to change our behavior.  We cannot change on our own, but we are not on our own.  God will help us.

III.  Good Works:  Titus 2:7-8

in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Here is an excellent goal!  We should try to live our lives in such a way that people will have to lie to say something bad.

How do we do this?

IV.  The Fruit of the Spirit:  Galatians 5:22-23

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The Spirit of God is transformational.  The Spirit will transform us from who we were, to the people that we are meant to be in Christ.  This is something that we can offer to the unsaved.  Do people really not want to have love in their lives?  Do they have too much peace in their hearts?  Do they not desire joy?  God offers us these things and so much more.

V.  Focus on Love

A.  Motivated by Love:  I John 5:1-3

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

As we grow in our relationship with God, His love transforms us.  We love Him.  We love other people.  We do what is right naturally, because of the love that is in our hearts.

B.  The Source of Love:  I John 4:18-19

 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

We do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  If we are discouraged or feeling overwhelmed we should stop and focus on the love that God has for us.  The knowledge of that love transforms us.  We love God.  We love other people.  We are strengthened.  We are encouraged.  We are changed.

The love of God is transformational.

These are the sermon notes from 7/3/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

A Good Example

June 15, 2016

Some Christians only read the New Testament.  That is a mistake.  There are many wonderful stories and truths revealed to us in the pages of the Old Testament.  Today’s message comes from the book of II Chronicles.  It is a portion of the story of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah.

II Chronicles 17:3-6

 Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah gave presents to Jehoshaphat, and he had riches and honor in abundance. And his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord; moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah.

I.  Our Choice

King Jehoshaphat made the right choice.  He chose to seek God rather than Baal.  Obviously, God is not lost, but sometimes our ability to see Him is hindered by the things of this world.  Jeremiah 29:13 tells us

 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 

We seek God through prayer and by reading His revealed word, the Bible.  These activities should be a part of our daily lives.

KIng Jehoshaphat also walked in His commandments.  His faith in God was not dead, but produced a life of obedience to God.  James 2: 17-18 tells us:

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

If we are spending time in God’s presence and in God’s Word, there should be a change taking place in our lives.  We should become more and more the people that we are supposed to be.

It is always still a choice, but we can choose to seek God, and we can choose to do what is right in His eyes.

II.  Our Reward

King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed by God.  God will bless those who serve Him.  This blessing may come in various forms.  It is not meant to be a means of getting rich, but rather a means of appreciating what is truly important in this life.

Psalms 37:16-17

A little that a righteous man has
Is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
But the Lord upholds the righteous.

Sometimes it is necessary to remember that our greatest reward is yet to come.  As believers we have an eternity in heaven waiting for us.  Even if we received nothing in this life, the promise of the life to come is great reward.

III.  Our Delight

Even though King Jehoshaphat was richly blessed, his true delight was in the Lord.  If our true delight is in God, no one can take that from us.

As the king continued to mature, he continued to look for ways to please God.  We too, as we mature in the Lord should look more closely at our lives and remove those things that might be displeasing to God.

I conclude today’s message with a longer quote from Psalms 37.

Psalms 37:1-11

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

These are the sermon notes from 6/12/16.  The Bible quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Blessings and Trials

April 11, 2016

In my devotions recently I was reading in Joshua and I was impressed with a particular passage that I felt gave excellent advice for the Christian life.

Joshua 1:8-9

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I.  An Emphasis on the Word:

As a teenager I memorized Psalms chapter one.  A portion of that Psalm supports what we have just read in Joshua.

Psalms 1:1-3

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Many Christians today are frightened by the idea of meditation.  They view it as a part of an Eastern religion, and not a part of Christianity.  They are not aware of the role that meditation has played in the Christian tradition.  As can be seen in both Bible readings listed above, the practice of meditation is encouraged.  The major difference between Christian meditation and Eastern meditation is the focus.  In Eastern meditation a person seeks to empty, or quiet their mind.  In Christian meditation, the mind is focused either on the Word of God, or on God Himself.  Instead of seeking to be empty, a Christian seeks to be full of the Word, or of the Spirit of God.

Of course, simply knowing the Word is not enough.  We need to be living in accordance to the Word.  Knowing and doing are two different things.  As Christians we should seek both to know the Word of God and to be obedient to the Word of God.  (See James)

As we live lives of obedience, we will prosper.  That prosperity may differ in manifestation from person to person.  It is not necessarily a means of financial gain.  There is far more to life than money.  A prosperous life may not have a large bank account.

II.  Endure Hardship:  II Timothy 2:3

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

A.  Be strong.  We recognize that the Christian life is not always easy.  There are many blessings, but there are also tests and trials.  We must not quit or give up just because life becomes challenging.

B.  Be courageous.   II Timothy 1:7*

   For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

We should face the challenges of this life bravely.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it.

C.  God is with you.  Joshua assures Israel that God is with them.  Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them always. (Matthew 28)  As Christians we can face whatever comes our way because of the knowledge that God is with us.

This life can be both rewarding and difficult.  As we serve the Lord we can expect to see His blessings in our lives, and to receive help in times of trouble.

These are the sermon notes from 3/5/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 

Why Christ Came

January 11, 2016

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ.  Jesus did not come to earth so that the American retailers can make money, He had a much greater purpose.

I.  To Save, Not Destroy:  Luke 9:51-56

 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village.

I sometimes have conversations with atheists who are very angry.  In many of these cases the atheist has had an exposure to Christianity that either over emphasized the punishment of sins with a resulting legalistic, works oriented attitude; or people were hypocritical, saying one thing, but doing another.  These people have left the church, bitter, angry, and filled with hatred for the church.

I feel very sorry for these people.  They have had an exposure to a Christianity that very poorly represented what Christ intended for His church.

Christ did not come to spread hatred, punishment and death.  He came to spread forgiveness, love and life.

II.  Abundant Life: John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The life that God offers to us is not simply eternal life, it is abundant life.  An abundant life is filled with all sorts of good gifts that come from God.  Much of that comes from our growing ability to appreciate what God has done for us.  It is our ability to appreciate what God has given us in this world, but  even more important, is our ability to appreciate the relationship that we have with Him through Jesus Christ.

The abundant life does not begin when we physically die.  The abundant life begins when we are born again in Christ. (John 3: 3-6)

III.  On Our Side:  Luke 9:49-50

Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”

50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

Our society has such a competitive atmosphere that it has had an impact on the church.  We sometimes view people from other churches as if they were members of an opposing team, or even sometimes, an actual enemy.  We need to be able to recognize our allies and work together for the kingdom of God.  We need to be careful that we are not tearing down the work of God, just because it is not our work.  We especially need to be helpful to those who have been wounded in the battle.  Ministry can be very hard and sometimes people fail and sometimes people fall.  We should look to restore people to health and wholeness in Christ, not finish them off.

Christ came to love, to forgive, and to bring life.

So should we.

These are the sermon notes from 12/20/15.  All quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

The Secret to Happiness

August 3, 2015

There are a lot of self-help books on the market.  People are not happy with who they are and they want to change.  They think that their lives would be better if they found the secret to happiness.

I.  The Lord Teaches Us:  Isaiah 48:17-18

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
18 Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

God will teach us how we should live.  God works in our lives by His Word and His Spirit to shape us into the people that we are meant to be.  It is a lifelong process, not a weekend seminar.

This process requires our participation and cooperation.  We need to be reading the Bible.  We need to exercise our will and follow the direction that God gives to us.  If we follow the directions that God gives to us, then we will prosper.

II.  The Lord is the Potter:  Isaiah 64:8

But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.

God is at work in our lives.  He has a plan and a purpose for us.  He has given to us certain skills that we are to develop and opportunities that we should seize.

Sometimes we are unhappy with our lives.  We can make changes, as God leads, but sometimes we must accept who we are created to be.  We need wisdom from God to know what we are to do.

III.  That Your Joy May Be Full:  I John 1:4-7

And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Joy is meant to be a regular part of our Christian experience.  The joy that God gives to us is not dependent on external circumstances, but on our internal relationship with Christ.  Our joy should be full.

If we are being led by the Spirit of God, we will be walking in the light.  That means that we will be doing what is right in the sight of God.  This too, is a process.  God cleanses us from sin.  We learn more and more what it means to be the children of God. We learn how we are to live, and God enables us to change.

IV.  Greater is He Who is in You:  I John 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Sometimes people will say that they cannot help themselves, that they are only human, that they cannot change.

That is not correct.

We are of God and have the Spirit of God within us.  We cannot change on our own, but by the power of the Spirit of God we can do whatever God calls us to do.

The secret to happiness is to cooperate with God as He forms us into the people that we are meant to be.

These are the sermon notes from 7/19/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Great Peace

May 28, 2015

One of our greatest assets as Christians is the peace of God that brings us through the turmoil of life.

I.  Psalms 119:165

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

The peace that God has for His people is something that this world cannot given, nor understand, nor take away.  It is not an absence of external turmoil or conflict.  It is an inner peace that allows us to face the storms of life unruffled.

This peace comes from time spent in the Word of God.  The Word of God, together with the Spirit of God, transform the people of God.  We should read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and above all, be obedient to it.

To stumble is to trip up, to almost fall.  People who are grounded in the Word will live stable Christian lives.

The King James version of the Bible says “And nothing will offend them.” for the second portion of verse 165.  Christians who are solidly grounded in the Word will not be offended by the actions of others.  We will have compassion on them, even when they are doing offensive things.

II.  John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This verse has been one of my favorites since my teenage years.  It has given me a peace within that comes from a confidence in what God can do in our lives.

We will have tribulation.  We will have problems, tests, and trials.  We can be confident that God will see us through those problems.  We can trust that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.  We are not alone.  God is with us.  It may be that we must look at our situations from an eternal perspective, because sometimes things don’t work out for us in this life.  That doesn’t meant that we are defeated.

We have the Spirit of Christ as our source of strength.  Jesus overcame the world.  Now, we too, are more than conquerors.

III.  II Timothy 3:1-5

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Whenever I read this portion of scripture I am amazed at how many of these traits are in evidence in the world today.  I believe that perilous times have come and we should guard our hearts against the corruption that is in the world.

In all of this, we may be at peace.  As our world descends into chaos, we can know that God is still on the throne.  We should continue to seek to do what is right in the eyes of God.  We should work to solve problems and to make the world in which we now live a better place, but we must realize that our true home is not in this world.

IV.  Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We cannot be at peace and be worried at the same time.  We should not worry.  Anything that we are anxious about we can bring to God and leave in His hands.  He loves us, hears us, and is able to help us.

We can be at peace in Him.

These are the sermon notes from 5/24/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any payment from them. 

His Mercy Endures Forever

May 21, 2015

There are portions of the Old Testament that clearly point to Jesus Christ.  Psalms that refer to Christ are called Messianic Psalms.  Psalms 118 is one example.

I.  Give Thanks for Mercy:  Psalms 118:1-4

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

Certainly we should give thanks to God for He is good to us in so many ways.  All good gifts come ultimately from God.  He is deserving of our thanks.

His mercy endures forever.  We should understand and appreciate God’s grace and mercy.  Grace is receiving something good that we do not deserve.  Mercy is when we do not receive punishment that we do deserve.  We all have sinned.  The wages of sin is death, but God has given us life in Jesus Christ instead of the death we deserve.  His mercy endures forever, because we have been offered life forever.

II.  Trust in the Lord:  Psalms 118: 5-9

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

We will occasionally be in distress.  Life can be hard.  In times of trouble we do not need to be afraid.  God is on our side.  Truly as Christians we should have no fear.  “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  We can trust God.  He will come through for us.  We should understand that sometimes we must view this from an eternal perspective.  Our greatest reward is not of this world.

III.  Rejoice!  Psalms 118:15-18

The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

We should expect that our lives will be filled with the joy of the Lord.  As Christians we should be able to rejoice over the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  We should be able to appreciate the good gifts that God has for us in this life.

In these verses we begin to see evidence that this psalm is a messianic psalm.  The “right hand of the Lord” is a reference to Jesus Christ.  Jesus does die for our sins, but he does not remain dead but is raised up to life everlasting.  So we too, have a hope that goes beyond the grave, truly a reason for rejoicing.

IV.  The Gate:  Psalms 118:19-20

Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

There is only one gate through which we can enter into the presence of the Lord.  It is, of course, Jesus Christ.  John 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”  The Hebrew word for gate is the same word as for door.  Either way, it is only through Jesus Christ that we will enter into heaven.  John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

V.  The Cornerstone:  Psalms 118:21-24

I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone upon which we can build our lives.  In Matthew 21:42 Jesus quotes this verse.  “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”  God knew from the very beginning what He was going to do about the problem of sin. God shows us mercy by the atoning death of Jesus.  Matthew 7:24 says “ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:”  Jesus is the rock of our salvation, the rock upon which we build our lives.

VI.  The Light:  Psalms 118:25-28

Save now, I pray, O Lord;
O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world that has shown into the darkness.  Those who believe in Him are called to share His light with others.  Some reject the light and remain in darkness, but some receive His light and come into the presence of God.  Now we are called to let His light shine through us.  ” Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. ” Matthew 5:16

Conclusion:  Psalms 118:29

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

The Acceptable, the Good and the Perfect

May 7, 2015

I am a percussionist.  I have played percussion instruments in performance groups and in worship teams for over thirty-five years.   As a percussionist, I have a fairly large collection of instruments.  I have a vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, timpani, congas, bongos, tempo blocks, cowbells, tambourines, a guiro, afuche, claves, various types of shakers, and more.

I played drums and percussion in school.  There was music.  I played what was written.  When I was first asked to play in church, I asked if there was music.  The director laughed, told me no, and that he would teach me to improvise.

Now I hardly ever use written music.

One of the challenges that  a percussionist faces is determining what instrument is going to be the best choice for a particular song, or part of a song.  Personally, I pray that I will be inspired by God’s Spirit to best be in tune with the worship that is taking place.  Paul speaks of singing in the Spirit, my goal is to play in the Spirit.

Last night during the worship service, as I was selecting which instrument to play, it occurred to me that it was a good illustration of our life choices.  In the same way that I have many instruments from which I can choose to play, I also have many ways in which I can spend my time.  In fact, I have far more things that I could do, than I could possibly have time or energy to do.

I could play many instruments and sound decent, but there is only one instrument that would be best.  It is the same in life, the challenge is to select the best thing to do with our time at any given moment.

I am still working on that.

Romans 12: 1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In playing my instruments, I want to be the best that I can be.  In life, my desire is to be in the perfect will of God, not just the good, or the merely acceptable, but the perfect.  I am glad that God accepts me in my imperfection, but I want to be the best that I can be in my service to God, not just as a musician, but in all areas of my life.

I hope that is true for you as well.

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Rejoice Always

February 23, 2015

I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always!”  There are times in life when this is  easy and times when it is not.

I.  Rejoice in Blessings:  I Chronicles 19:16

 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”

Everything that we have has come from God.  We may think that our own abilities and hard work have earned us the material things that we possess, but who gave us the abilities?  Who gave us the opportunities?  Who helped the results of our efforts to be favorable?  It is appropriate to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to us.  When things are going well it is easy to rejoice.

II.  Rejoice in Trials:  II Thessalonians 1:4-7

 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

God is with us even in our times of trial.  We are not alone.  God will give us wisdom and strength to endure the times of trials.  We can rejoice that we do not face our trials alone.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

We can rest assured that the wicked will be punished.  We do not rejoice in their destruction.  We pray for them to repent, but there is a sense of justice in knowing that the wicked who have not repented, will be punished.

The faithful will be rewarded.  If not in this life, then in the next.

III.  Rejoice in Death:

Luke 10: 20: 

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

As Christians we can rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Our lives on this earth may be difficult at times but we have a hope that goes beyond this world.  Our true reward is in the life to come.

We do not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.  Rather we warn them of the judgement to come upon those who do not repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  We rejoice along with the angels in heaven whenever a person turns from their sins and finds salvation in Jesus Christ.

To rejoice always seems like a difficult challenge, but when we think about it we realize that in times of blessing, in times of trial and even in death, we have reason to rejoice.  For in life, and in death, God is with us.

These are the sermon notes from 2/15/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.