My Family

My Family
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Waiting in Bethany

Today's guest speaker was Dr. Robert Smith and he talked on How Do You Live When Jesus is Silent.  He used the Scripture from when Lazarus died and Mary and Martha have sent for their Savior, their friend, their Lord.  Actually they sent for Him before he died when Lazarus was gravely ill.  They expected Jesus to come, to hear from Him right away, to know His salvation.  Surely He would come and save their brother.  They had witnessed many of His miracles and knew what He was capable of.  The believed in Him as Lord of all.  So where was He?  Why did He delay?  He waited 4 days after Lazarus died before He appeared on the scene.  4 days!!  To Mary and Martha it must have been an eternity.

So Dr. Smith's question to us was how do we live in those 4 days?  Waiting in Bethany for our Lord to arrive?  We wait knowing that He is coming with more greatness than we can imagine -- Resurrection power even!!  We wait knowing that His delay is not denial for He always wants good for us and plans to prosper us.  God is not limited by time.  He is not limited by anything.  We need to remember that our limitations and our limited mind cannot control God either.  While we are waiting in Bethany, many things may happen to discourage us but we should hold fast to our belief that God is for us!!  And He will appear on the scene in His own time!!  And it won't be too late...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Forgiveness relates directly to grace and how we have accepted Jesus.  That, of course, doesn't make it easy.  Grace is something we don't deserve. defines grace as free and unmerited favor.  There is nothing we can do to deserve God's grace.  There is nothing we can do to keep it.  Jesus paid the price for it.  Bc He did that, I have been forgiven of much.  What, you say, did I do that was so bad?  Well, God doesn't rank sin so all sin is black to Him and all sin must be separated from Him.  So you may not think my sin is bad -- my sin, however, held Jesus to the cross.  He died for me!!  Just like He died for YOU!!  Forgiveness is what we receive when we receive grace.  Likewise, we should practice forgiveness.  Remember, sin is not ranked by God.  So someone else's sin against us still needs to be forgiven.  We have been forgiven much; thus we must forgive much.  I choose to forgive...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Is Jesus Hiding?

Pastor JD challenged our thinking on Sunday with the thought that Jesus plays Hide and Seek with us.  He questioned why the God of the universe would make Himself so unknown so unseen that not all folks would see Him.  He resounded questions of the cynical about our God.  He asked why do the wise and understanding miss God?  Then he offered answers for why they do.
1.  Our hearts are naturally blind.  We are filled with rebellion and blinded to God's goodness.  It is only by grace that we are given sight.
2.  God will not be found through human achievement because if He could be that would contribute to human pride.  JD used the story of Naman here where Naman had to degrade himself and bathe in the Jordan river 7 times before he was healed of leprosy.  It wasn't his wealth or his popularity that healed him but only God's grace that healed him.  In Ephesians it states that God gives us this grace freely so that no man can boast. 
3.  God will be found by those with a childlike heart.  Someone who is humble, submissive, not cynical is the one who will be open to hearing God's word and his heart will be open to responding to God's will.  Surrender to God precedes knowledge about God.
4.  God will be found by those who want to know HIm not use Him for something else.  God is not a genie and can tell if our intentions are pure. 
So what was the benefit of this message to us?  We are thankful that we have had our eyes opened and have already seen Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We also are encouraged that those we are preaching to or ministering to may not always be able to hear because the eyes of their understanding have not been opened by the Lord.  We should pray for them in addition to our talking to them so that they will hear through the Holy Spirit for it's only by His grace do we hear.  So keep on praying and keep on seeking for the lost to see Him. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Has God Forgotten Me?

I listened intently tonight as Pastor Marc testified of his wife's battled with depression and the victory she won over it through the Lord.  He was careful to clarify earthly steps that we should take but he added a Scripture that I think we should all meditate on.  It is Psalm 77 in which David cries out in distress:
I cried out to God for help;
   I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
   at night I stretched out untiring hands,
   and I would not be comforted.
 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
   I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
   I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
   the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
   My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
 7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
   Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
   Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
   Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
   the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
   yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
   and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
 13 Your ways, God, are holy.
   What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
   you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
   the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
 16 The waters saw you, God,
   the waters saw you and writhed;
   the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
   the heavens resounded with thunder;
   your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
   your lightning lit up the world;
   the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
   your way through the mighty waters,
   though your footprints were not seen.
 20 You led your people like a flock
   by the hand of Moses and Aaron."
How many times have I cried out to the Lord when I can't find the words to say and all that comes to mind are His reminders of His past victories in my life, the times when He has not let me go.  He is always there with me in trouble and led me through the mighty seas.  I hope you haven't had to endure this kind of pain but if you have then take heart bc this is not new pain.  God is still with you.  He will never leave nor forsake you.  I'll be glad to pray with you...just ask...

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Pastor JD was very effective in teaching us about prayer tonight using two parables from Luke to illustrate how we should approach the throne with our requests.  First he noted from Luke 11, in the Lord's prayer, where Jesus taught the disciples to begin their prayers with "Father."  The Greek word here is actually Abba meaning Daddy, a more endearing word than Father.  We should come to Him as a child would her daddy, with persistence, with expectation, with the knowledge and trust that He will provide for her.  Then JD used the parable in Luke 11 which describes how much earthly fathers who are evil will give their children and how much more our heavenly Father who is good will provide for His children.  If we could really grasp this fact our prayer life would be totally different.  The next parable JD spoke of came from Luke 18 and it compared God to a unjust judge and us to a pesky woman wanting justice for herself.  Comical as this is, it is there to point is to the fact that we are to be persistent and consistent with our prayers.  Most "Christians" spend 5 minutes/day in prayer.  What do you pray for when you pray?  I know my heart was pricked by this message especially when JD added the note that how much of it would be that we would dwell in the house of the Lord forever as described in the Psalms.  Is that the one thing that YOU desire of the Lord?  I know that my prayers are filled with many other things but I learned a lot about prayer tonight. 1. Prayer actually changes things.  Prayers are like laser beams.  They build on each other until they are strong and powerful prayers.  2. We desperately need the mercy of God, but guess what, it's abundant.  The subtle disbelief that we are absolutely dependent on God keeps us from praying whole-heartedly.  3. We should pray trustingly, like children.  Sometimes God answers our prayers by giving to us what we would have asked for had we known what He knows.  4. Our greatest petition is for more of the Holy Spirit. 
So, what do you have to ask of Daddy and will you come to Him with child-like faith?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Limits of God

I have come to realize that there are no limits with God.  There is no eleventh hour, no last minute, no deadline to meet.  There is also no final hour, no final breath, no final word on a matter other than Him of course.  We try to impose our limits on God, our own timetables on Him when all the while He has a plan, a plan that is better than anything we could've imagined for us.  Jer 29:11 promises that when it says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, and to give you hope and a future."  So why do we fret when our plans are laid our for us by our Heavenly Father, good plans even? 
I must confess that we've been waiting on the Lord for something for over 3 years now, something we feel is from Him.  If it isn't from Him and He has something better then Holy Moly!!  But I have hope in Him, hope in our future in Him, in our prosperity in Him.  I believe He is going to do as His word promised.  One day soon I will be able to share with you the fulfillment of this promise and I can't wait.  God is so good!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Get Noticed by God

"There is no one too bad or too good to get Jesus' attention." Pastor JD began his sermon today with these words as he talked on Luke 8 beginning with verse 40, the stories of Jairus and his daughter and the woman with the issue of blood.  Jairus was everything a good synagogue ruler should be pious and upright and yet when he came to Jesus to plead for the life of his only daughter he fell prostrate before him.  Such things were unheard of back then.  Jesus agreed to go with him and while he travelled the crowd pushed in on him.  In the crowd was a woman with an issue of blood, an issue which had plagued her for 12 years.  She was considered unclean, unfit, unworthy to be in crowds, unloveable, broken.  Yet she thought, she knew if she just grabbed the fringe of Jesus' garment she would be healed and made whole again.  Her life would be changed forever.  Once she grabbed it, the power was imparted and she was immediately healed.  Jesus, knowing it had happened stopped the crowd and asked who had touched Him.  Why did He ask?  Surely, the Son of God knew who it was.  It was to give her an opportunity to step forth in faith, in front of others.  Once she did come forth, He spoke very tenderly calling her daughter, the ultimate adoption on the spot!!  Her faith had made her whole.  While Jesus was speaking (you know the story), someone came to say that Jairus' daughter had died but Jesus went to her anyway saying she would be healed too.  When they arrived funeral arrangements had already begun and wailing was rampant.  Jesus said she was only asleep.  Can you imagine??  But He tenderly went to her and took her hand and told her to get up.  Here we have a beautiful image of Jesus visiting with us at our deathbed, holding our hand and speaking softly to us -- all this while "the shadow of death" falls over us.  JD gave this analogy of death for Christians:  It feels like separation will last forever.  However, think of it this way.  A mack truck is coming your way.  Would you rather be hit by the truck or by the shadow of the truck?  As Christians we are only hit by the shadow of the truck or death.  Isn't that awesome??  We don't have to fear death!!  Jesus will be right there at our side.  What a great sense of relief that is?!  Several things I want to make note of here.  Jesus' primary ministry was reconnecting us to God, not resurrecting the dead, healing the sick or any other side note or tangent.  God wants to have a relationship with us again and this is made possible by Jesus and His sacrifice.  Remember, what I said about Jesus' primary ministry being to reconnect us to God.  Well, sometimes that means we don't get our miracles.  But when we're fully connected to the Father, earthly miracles just don't matter quite as much.  I don't mean not to ask because the Word is clear that we should ask all in His name, just sometimes the answer is no. 
1.  COME TO HIM. -- don't let the law or the crowds keep you from Him.  The crowd did not keep the woman from Jesus and she was made whole and what's even more important she was adopted into His kingdom.
2.   BE PUBLIC ABOUT IT. --  Jesus called her daughter after she owned up so confess Him as your Lord in front of your friends and loved ones. 
3.  YOU CAN SCARCELY UNDERESTIMATE HIS TENDERNESS & COMPASSION. --  He cares.  He doesn't change.  He's interruptible.  On the cross He took our defilement.  He absorbed our uncleanness so that we become clean.
4.  WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT GOD DETERMINES HOW YOU RELATE TO HIM. -- If you really understood who He is, you would want Him, you would pray, you would yield to Him.  God is always working for our good.  His power guarantees He can.  His love guarantees He will.
So, which are you, the good synagogue ruler or the unclean woman?  Which one deserved Jesus' help more?  Which one got it?  Yeah, me too...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Substitute

I will open with a verse that really stuck with me from worship tonight.  Micah 7:18 & 19, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."  Yes, you read that right.  God actually delights in showing us mercy.  Kinda gets ya, doesn't it???

Pastor JD opened noting that his sermon would probably be affected by the madness of the ACC tourney.  I make the same notation on this blog and hope for similar results.  JD talked with us from Luke 3 & 4 about Jesus' baptism and temptation.  Jesus' temptation was a temptation to prioritize the needs of the body over the needs of the soul.  All of the temptations were designed to sway Him from the cross.  Jesus knew that outward obedience means nothing if it doesn't come from the heart.  We need more than a behavior modification; we need a heart change.  So Jesus was a substitute for our sin.  JESUS IN MY PLACE.  His repentance (at the time of His baptism) was IN MY PLACE.  The temptation (an analogy for Israel's wandering for 40 years) was IN MY PLACE.  Only grace, His grace can change the heart!!

So how are we to overcome temptation, since we are here on earth and have skin on?  The Lord has provided weapons for us.  (1)  The Word of God -- Satan wants you to doubt God's word about you and your identity in Him.  DON'T DO IT!!  Live the promises!!  Walk in His Word.  (2)  The Spirit of God -- by renewal of faith in the gospel.  Anytime there was an outpouring of faith, there was an outpouring of the Spirit.  (3)  The Plan of God -- He wants us to learn to feast on Him and trust Him despite our suffering.  He uses suffering to change our motives.  You'll never know God is all you need until He is all you have.  (4)  Fasting -- Do I really love God or am I using Him for things?  Denying the body while allowing God to fulfill the needs of the soul.

So do you believe?  Do you truly believe that Jesus was in your place?  Do you believe that God delights in showing us mercy and grace?  Run to His open arms now and find refuge and rest my friends.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sidenote on Damaged

I know growing up I watched as adults treated others who didn't find God's favor as sinful or damaged goods.  I am glad to hear JD preach this story of Z and Eliza and know that damaged people are not always sinful people.  In fact, JD used the example that one of our pastor's football coach would ride him continually in practice.  It was the way you knew you found favor with the coach, that he cared for you -- he disciplined you and worked to make you better because he saw the potential in you.  It was the ones he didn't speak to that should have been depressed because he didn't bother with them.  So if you're suffering and feeling like God isn't listening, He is probably doing some work in your life because He loves you, not because He is ignoring you.  You are loved by God.  Remember His greatest gift is He Himself.  The rest is just superficial and fading.  This world and all in it will pass away but those who love Him will walk with Him forever.  Be blessed and encouraged!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Luke - good news for the damaged!!

Tonight we began a new series at church, a study on the gospel of Luke.  Pastor JD began calling Luke a gospel for cynics.  He defined gospel as good news and proceeded to call this sermon good news for the damaged.  You see, Zechariah and Elizabeth with whom the book opens were damaged goods, damaged in the eyes of humans.  They had not been able to conceive a child during their lives and now they were old, too old to have a child come into their lives.  Children were seen as a heritage much more than they are today because they were how your name was carried on and how you were cared for when you were old and how the blessings of the Lord for your family continued from generation to generation.  Sure, they had prayed for years for a child and for whatever reason God had never blessed them with one.  In those times it would be thought that something was wrong with the couple, that God's favor was not on them because of some sin or something hidden and that's why they could not bear children.  But the Bible is clear that this is not the case with Z and Eliza.  It calls them blameless, not sinless but blameless before God.  But finally, in their old age, God chose to use this couple and bless them with the mouthpiece that would announce the coming of the King.  Why did He choose them, seeing that they were damaged goods?  I believe no story in the Bible is there without purpose.  He chose Z and Eliza to show us that He chooses us too, even when we are damaged or feel we are damaged.  Our damage may not be childlessness but some other thing that God has chosen not to fulfill in our lives, leaving us scarred thinking we are unworthy (side note: these are all lies of Satan btw).  Jesus' death and resurrection paid the price to make us all worthy of His love because of His grace and mercy.  Aren't we all damaged goods somehow if we truly think about it, even if we have everything we need?  The Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God -- DAMAGED!!  But there are soooo many promises that there are for us, so many things He wants to give us and wants us to ask for.  It doesn't mean He will bless us with everything we pray for but it does mean He will listen.  Remember, the greatest gift of all is Jesus Himself!!!!  I challenge each of us to examine our lives and our "damage" and give it over to God, accept the "good news" and lean entirely on Him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.
 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3

Take Up Your Cross

Clayton King was guest speaker at the Summit tonight and it was my first time hearing him and I must say WOW!!  That man is anointed for evangelism!!  Incredible!!  He laid it all on the table.  He taught from Mark 8 where Jesus tells His follwers to Take Up Their Cross and follow Him.  Clayton told us how taking up one's cross was a taboo statement for Jews at the time because of Roman rule and their persecution of the Jews so saying this was like saying I'll give you cancer if you follow me.  So why was this statement effective?  What did so many flock to Jesus even after that and even still today?  Because it is truth.  Salvation through Jesus costs us nothing.  Jesus paid the price for us all.  Discipleship costs us everything.  It IS taking up our cross and following Him in all avenues of our lives.  John 16:33 says, "These things I have told you so that in me you might have peace.  For in this world you will have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world."  Jesus paid the price for us on the cross, the ultimate way of showing God's love for us.  In His resurrection He overcame the world and all of sin, all for us.  As disciples of Christ, we must daily take up our cross and follow Him, give Him our lives and die to our selves. I don't say this flippantly because it is truly difficult to do but I pray that He will take me and make me one of His disciples, counting the costs but knowing the gain is my Jesus.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who is More Generous?

Pastor JD really challenged my thinking tonight with his sermon on the passing of David.  Actually, as you may recall this was his second sermon on the subject but since it's covered twice in the Bible he thought two sermons were in order. lol.  The part that challenged me came from David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29.  David is so awestruck by God's generosity and he just oozes out thankfulness and praise to the God of all Creation.  This is after the people have gathered boocoos of riches and items for Solomon to build the temple.  So much was gathered that it was a life-changing experience, life-changing for the entire nation!!  All of the people worshipped the Lord with David and marvelled at His greatness and His generous grace and mercy in their lives.  Remember, these were the same people and the same David that had sinned greatly against God.  Yet God had forgiven them and influxed great grace into their lives once again.

Likewise, we should be awestruck by God's generosity with us.  Afterall, He gave His only begotten Son that we might be saved.  This in itself should be enough for us to trust Him completely and utter His praise whenever we speak.  Instead we harbor up our treasures here on earth and think they will bring us happiness.  Treasures can be material things, emotional things, sexual things, whatever enters our little minds.  But only trusting in God completely will bring us true happiness.  It will bring us to complete generosity through a complete gospel-centered life.  Our generosity will be evident in our giving of our money, our time, our lives, our testimony, our very being.  We will be committed to trusting God completely in all areas of our walk.  Jesus gave it all; all to Him I owe.

Won't you join me in striving to live a more generous life?  Can we out-give God?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Worst Sinner

In 1 Timothy, Paul states, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."  Yes, one of the greatest apostles of the Bible claims he himself is the worst of sinners.  You might agree remembering him as the persecutor of the early Christian church but he was thinking of himself as a mortal being, a sinner, one who fails God on a daily basis even after he has accepted Christ as Lord.  I find this comparable to the life I lead as I feel I daily am the worst sinner.  But the good news is this, God's mercy is new every morning, new and complete and covering all sin.  I am so thankful that He is patience with us and forgiving and full of mercy and grace.  Aren't you???

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

I was stunned when Pastor JD broached this subject tonight.  Stunned because I've never heard it preached on quite like this before.  It was rough and hard to swallow but here goes my version...

He said that we've got it all wrong.  It's not "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People" but "Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?"  Afterall, none of us are good, no not one.  Sin is not ranked therefore neither are we.  We are under a rightful curse, brought on by original sin, sin which we all participate in.  Yes, we all may try to do right and obey laws and such but we still sin against God.  The only reason more bad things do not happen to us is because of God's endless grace and mercy.  In Isaiah 26:9-10  it states, "When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.  But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD."  So you see, we are all truly blessed, blessed to have Jesus to call upon in our time of trouble for He is our advocate and His blood covers those of us who have believed on Him.  Believe on Him now and see His grace and mercy active in your life.  There is hope for them that love Him.

God is faithful despite ourselves...

Pastor JD was awesome tonight, answering questions in the continuing saga of David's life.  We are at the end of David's life and David once again sins against God.  I was struck by how familiar this is to me as I fail God continually in my walk with Him too.  God's anger was kindled against David and he was given a choice of the nation's punishment.  Yes, the whole nation had fallen with David.  JD drew the analogy of how even though Adam cast the original sin, we fall into sin too and must be punished for it.  We suffer because of one man and because of one Man we are saved.  Unfortunately for the nation of Israel, punishment had to come and the angel of death came but God saw it and was grieved, seeing the future and His own Son's death He relented and had the angel cease.  Fortunately for us, Jesus already took our sin upon Himself and also took our punishment, our death even.  All we have to do is accept Him and His love for us and ask for His forgiveness of our sins.  JD states that the whole point of David's story is to point us to the Son, Jesus.  David's failures as a man, as a father, as a king are overshadowed by the coming of the Glorious One, King of Kings.  I'm glad that I know that God's mercy is better than man's and He will forgive me of my shortcomings and love me because of His Son.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deserving God's Love

I was watching tv today and a man on there said his son had done nothing to deserve his love.  Immediately, I was captivated because we don't DESERVE God's love but because of Jesus what we get is His love and mercy and grace.  That's what it's all about, people.  We deserve the cross, the death, the torment.  But when we throw ourselves on the mercy of the Lord that is exactly what we get.  We can't earn it; we can only ask for it and know it is there for us.  Praise God; it is there for us!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Pots of Mesopotamia

Somewhere in Mesopotamia there were pots that were made and then broken over a stone.  The pots were then remade with a glaze of gold sealing the pieces together, making the pots more valuable than before. 
This is how brokeness works with God.  He breaks us only to put us back together better than before!!

Relational Pain

Pastor JD continued our talks of David tonight with a sermon on David and Absalom.  Absalom and David had a broken relationship, broken because of the confusion of David's disengagement from his own family.  Tamar was Absalom's sister and was raped by her half-brother.  David did nothing.  He said nothing.  Absalom couldn't believe this giant-slayer let his half-brother get away with this transgression.  Absalom took in his sister and she lived with him despite her scorn.  Absalom plotted and killed the half-brother who raped his sister and David was incensed and would not speak to Absalom for five years.  So Absalom plotted to overthrow King David and slept with wives left behind at the palace when David fled in disgrace.  As David fled one of Saul's family members cast stones at him and threw dirt on him and cursed him.  David felt he had lost God's favor and didn't deserve anything better than this and didn't allow his servants to stop the man.  David regained his composure and fought back against Absalom but ordered that no harm be done unto his son; however, Absalom was hung by his hair in the battle as he fled and was stabbed to death.  David mourned the loss of Absalom crying out for his lost son in great agony. 
So why is this story in the Bible?  It is there to give us hope of the new King, the King who has stripped sin of its sting.  Relational pain is still there but God's grace can free you from the paralysis of guilt.  Jesus did for us, as His sons and daughters, what David could not do for his own children.  Jesus saves us; David could not save Absalom.  Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose."  This doesn't make anything that we go through easier to deal with or the consequences of our sin easier to accept but it does mean there is forgiveness for those who are in Christ Jesus and walk after Him. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Go and Sin No More --- Psalm 51

Tonight's sermon continued the lesson of David's sin with Bathsheba but Pastor JD approached it from the standpoint of what David did after he sinned and was rebuked by Nathan the prophet.  I'd never heard it put quite like this and I was stunned with his words.

He started by listing the 4 typical responses when approached by our sin:
1.  Hide it or deny it
2.  Rationalize or explain it
3.  Blameshift
4.  Repent, just throw ourselves on the mercy of God.

He went on to describe what Gospel-centered repentance looks like:
1.  Its sole hope is the mercy of God.  Is God's mercy enough to get you to heaven?  It's the only thing that can.
2.  It owns that the sin we committed is deeply inherent.  We didn't have to train to become the depraved sinners that we are.  It is a natural thing.
3.  It is first directed toward God. 
    a.  David realized his sin begin as a sin against God.
    b.  God was the most significant one he sinned against.
4.  It cries out for the gospel.  It seeks the coming of Jesus and his redemption.
5.  It embraces the future redemption by the gospel.
6.  It responds to the gospel.

Pastor JD used the illustration of the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus with a crowd ready to stone her and He wrote a message in the sand that caused the crowd to disband without harming the woman.  Jesus said "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."  Her forgiveness was not based on her works but her works from then on would be based on His forgiveness.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Abounding in Love & Grace

Psalm 103:8-12 "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Thank goodness for this verse.  It epitomizes God's grace towards us.  We have nothing to fear because of Jesus' dying for our sins and taking our place before the Father.  Likewise, the Father was forgiving with David and Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11 & 12.  Their sin was sexual sin which easily finds its way in our lives when we are blessed or when we are struggling.  Odd, you say, that it finds its way in at both of these times but as Pastor JD explained tonight when we are blessed we tend to forget our dependence on God and when we are struggling we are searching for a substitute for God. 

In 2 Sam 11, David was truly blessed as King of Israel but he was also disengaged.  He sent forth his armies without him which was not normally the custom.  Being disengaged from God can happen to any of us if we are not heavenly minded and keeping our eyes on things above.  Avoid temptation.  David was seeking something other than God on top of the palace and found Bathsheba bathing.  Avoiding temptation is far easier than resisting sin.  JD reiterated this point time and again during the sermon.  Don't put yourself in tempting situations, situations where you may have fallen before, situations where you know your mate is weak, any situation that might cause you to sin.  Can you be forgiven?  Of course, there is never a sin that is too much for God to handle or forgive you for.  Not forgiving you would be requiring two payments for the same sin -- remember, Jesus has already paid the debt once and His mercy and grace won't permit 2 payments.  But repentance means trying to learn from your past failures and rise above the sin that plagues you and this world.

David fell to sexual sin and slept with Bathsheba and she conceived a child.  David then had her husband killed and married her and swept the whole thing under the carpet but God knew of the sin.  God was displeased but David sought the Lord and found His favor again.  God had not left David even though David had strayed and sinned.  There were consequences that had to be paid for David's sin.  That's life.  But God's forgiveness is everlasting and is available for each of us, no matter what we have done. 

So what can we draw from David's experience:
1.  Sin can destroy your life.  Repent and accept God's forgiveness.
2.  Be actively engaged in God's plans.  Healthy individuals are washed (clean), justified (safe) and sanctified (special).
3.  Flee temptation.  Just plain RUN!!!  Run Forrest Run!!!
4.  Be captivated by GOD'S beauty -- The way to overcome sexual sin is NOT by learning to love them LESS, it's learning to love God MORE!!!

I was challenged by JD's words. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Almost Heaven

In the absence of JD this week, Pastor Raudel from our Spanish-speaking church brought forth an inspiring message from 2 Peter 3:1-15 connecting our present day with our eternity.  While collecting my thoughts about the sermon I was struck by a few things that he said.  Almost is never good enough.  You never say I'm almost pregnant or we almost won the game (well, maybe you do on the last one but it just isn't the same).  Likewise almost heaven is not good enough.  Heaven will be a glorious place and almost just won't do. 

Peter talks of how there will be scoffers who doubt Jesus is returning and taking us to heaven but Raudel defined scoffers as anyone who doesn't take something seriously or in this case, those who live without an eternal perspective.  We should never forget that "God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." (1 Thes 5:9-10).  Likewise, since He did not appoint US to suffer we should not be satisfied until everyone has heard the gospel.  We should be like Him and as it says in 2 Pet 3:9, be patient, not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance.  We should align our daily activities with heavenly intentions.

Raudel defined mercy as not getting what we deserve and grace as getting what we don't deserve.  God bathes us in His mercy and grace.  We should share this with others that they may be saved, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hooping and Hollerin'

I watched today in awe as Louisville made an awesome comeback in the Marquette game.  My awe was not at the display of talent but at the display of support from the fans.  They were dancing and singing and hooping and hollerin'.  And then came the words that set me off, "Louisville reached the promised land."  The promised land?!  The promised land?!  Did the freakin' announcer even know what he was talking about? 

I wondered wouldn't we all be hooping and hollerin' if we had reached the promised land (heaven).  I am looking forward to that day but in the meantime, my praise will show forth the joy that I am going to reach the promised land!!  I will pass through this trials and tribulations and go on to meet my Jesus face to face and at that time there will be a mighty rejoicing or in the words of the song I Can Only Imagine  maybe I will fall to my knees but it will be far better than any ballgame or concert I've been to that's for sure.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I've long thought of myself as a Bapti-costal -- a Baptist person with Pentecostal tendencies lol.  It's been my desire to find a church where I could remove that thinking and regain the independent thinking of just Christian.  I don't know if I've found it but I think I'm pretty close in The Summit, where we regularly attend now but I think the difference is me, not the church itself.  My dad puts it this way, "I bring my worship with me."  I guess that sums it up.  I don't know how others are feeling about the worship at The Summit but when I'm there, I am meeting with my Lord, conversing with my Saviour, worshipping my God.  If you are searching for this too, Bapti-costal or not, come join me.  You won't leave empty.  I assure you that if you come planning on meeting God there, He shows up!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Let's Be Real...

I find it humorous when people are judgmental or critical of others who are struggling with sin in their lives because the fact is that we ALL have sin in our lives, no matter how hard we try to be righteous.  The only righteousness we have is given to us by Jesus.  Romans 3 declares that "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."  People use sin as excuses to criticize other people and especially other church goers.  The Word is clear however in 1 John 3 that we should love each other by laying down our lives for each other, not criticizing each other to pieces.  The church is filled with sinners including ourselves.  We should love each other and pray for each other to help each other through our difficulties, not bash each other for our failures. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Grace of God

I was touched today by Pastor Danny's word on the Grace of God.  I think we as a people do not truly understand God's grace.  Wouldn't we live differently if we did?  Afterall, as Danny said, all of our stories are authored by the grace of God.  Webster defines grace as the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.  I think the keyword here is unmerited.  Remember, life isn't fair!!!  We don't deserve grace or mercy for that matter but because of Jesus' sacrifice that is exactly what we can get. 

Danny continued the sermon to describe what the Grace of God would look like in our lives.
   1.  We would be doing the uncomfortable.  Reaching out to the unlovable is often uncomfortable but aren't we really unlovable too?  Remember, God doesn't rank sin.  Sin stains are all ugly to Him.
   2.  We would be knowing and following God's Word.  James 1:22-25 says it like this, " Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
   3.  We would be identifying with Christ.  The term Christian in itself means little Christ or Christ-like.  It was used to identify the early church because they looked like Jesus.  So should we.
   4.  Selfless giving of our resources and ourselves.  2 Cor 9:7 says, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

The early church was characterized like we should be -- they asked for grace, they acted in grace but they never assumed the grace of God was theirs.  Thank you, Danny, for a good word from the Lord!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Vision

Psalm 91 is one of my favorite psalms.  "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust."  A delightful beginning, I must say, encouraging one to live close to God, close enough that His shadow will fall on us.  It goes on to say in verse 4 that "He will cover you with His feathers," something that has always intrigued me especially in the light of a vision I feel the Lord gave me long ago. 

    I was praying and was transformed into a spirit-being soaring with wings as a eagle,
    rising above all my earthly problems and then I see His open arms.  I fly towards
    Him with growing peace and yet excitement.  As I approach Him, His arms raise
    to engulf me and I see the glory of heaven around about Him but my focus is clear. 
    As I land at His feet His arms become wings of feathers, just as a mother hen would
    engulf her young.  Such safety, such love, such comfort. 

I've rarely shared this with anyone but maybe if you can see the Lord as I do, you too can feel His feathers comfort you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm Just...Radically Saved...

The singer Carman has a song that fits today's sermon.  It's called Radically Saved.  Pastor JD was on a leave today so Bryan Barley of the newly planted Soma Church in Denver, CO preached today and to sum it up, we should be just Radically Saved.  Our lives should be structured radically around the gospel -- reading, teaching, preaching, living the gospel, all aspects of it.  Our lives should be structured radically around the community with devotion, unity and generosity.  Most of our schedules don't allow such devotion or we WON'T allow it to.  Our lives should be structured radically around the mission -- make disciples who make disciples.  WOW!!!  All this from Acts 2: 42-47 is what life with Jesus looks like.