Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Gets Better As Time Goes By

Ecclesiastes 3:1
There is a time for everything is what Ecclesiastes tells us.
We have to deal with it, you can’t push or change God’s time.
But in Psalms 37:25 David said 25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
1.       With Age & Experience We Get Better With God’s Timing
Because we experience His timing.
There is a lot we don’t know or understand along the journey because the present and what’s ahead is so compelling.
It’s what we fixate on and that’s the journey that all humans take.
It’s very difficult not to fixate on the present and what lies ahead.
The more we go the more of God’s timing we witness.
Until we get to the place this verse speaks about.
I was young and now I am old but I have never seen
That’s doesn’t necessarily indicate age only, this is experience.
As we become mature spiritually, as we experience stuff with Him, we learn from experience that
2.       it’s not a matter of whether God will answer your prayers.
So unless the answer is no then it’s only a matter of timing.
It’s not a matter of whether God will answer our prayers.
The quicker we get there the greater and sooner our faith can be now.
Because doubting is just a faith killer.
David said this works, it worked when I was young (inexperienced, you can be older but inexperienced) and it works now while I am old (experienced) God’s timing is perfect.
It’s profound.
David knew that God’s takes care of His children and his declaration is they just never go without.
There is a very important companion principle that goes with that thought.
We have to focus on the guaranteed promises.
The guaranteed provisions are the ones that He’s promised to make, which is a lot.
But here’s a complicating part of the process, we can be sure that our wants and desires, what we pray about will exceed what He has guaranteed to provide.
That’s where we can get discouraged with our prayers and God’s provision.
Here’s an example of the guaranteed promises Matt 6:33
Don’t get discouraged by lack of provision of the non guaranteed.
He has a better provision covered under his guaranteed promises that is just what the doctor ordered.
If your fixation is on the nonguaranteed promises it’s easy to begin to think He isn’t engaged, doesn’t care, isn’t paying attention.
At work on last Monday DC was on in the Breakroom.
There was a married couple on the show and the husband couldn’t accept that his wife wanted a divorce.
An associate passed the tv headed to his locker.
He didn’t seem to be paying attention to the program that was on.
After he got in his locker he was walking out of the room and the judge had just gone over some reasons why the guy need to accept the divorce.
The associate turned and looked at the tv from the door and said she doesn’t love you.
I didn’t think he was engaged, paying attention but he was he was taking it in and listening.
God is the same way, don’t ever believe that He is disinterested or disengaged or not listening.
Young or old the principles are good, he will not leave you without provision.

Hear The Word

Romans 10:17
We are going to talk turkey about faith today.
It’s important for sure.
Romans talks about it in the context of the gospel.
How do people get saved?
But an expanded question is how is faith developed?
God would not make you just believe without help.
He has given us a big assist.
1.       People Have To Hear
Without someone to tell them, they are obviously not going to be saved.
Romans 10:14-15
But they have to hear very specifically in order for faith to be born.
Faith is born by hearing the words of Christ.
Very specific faith comes by hearing, not just any words but the words of Christ.
For the lost we have to have unflinching believe in the power of those words.
They provoke people to faith,
So what do you do for anyone lost in your life that you care about, find a way to speak the words of Christ to them.
Those words when heard are life changing.
What is heard (they have to penetrate, take root, begin to grow)
So we keep speaking until some word gets into the soil and survives the onslaught of everything they have to endure until they produce faith.
So focus on the words of Christ, it’s worked for 2000+ years why not today?
2.       The Words Continue To Produce Faith.
After saving faith, they create healing faith, they create provisional faith, it’s no different after we are saved.
There is saving faith but there is also living faith.
Who did the writer of Hebrews tell them to focus or fix on right after the Hebrews 11 faith chapter?  Jesus of course, why Jesus?
Hebrews 12:1-2
He is the author and the finisher of our faith. 
He is personified in His words to us.
John 1:14
His words are what we have and so we need to access those words as often as possible.
You want greater faith?
Allow His words to penetrate, take root, get into the ground of your heart where there is good soil that they can grow in.
This tells us something:
3.       We Have To Take Ourselves Out Of The Equation.
Your great words do not inspire people to salvation and they don’t inspire faith.
Was your prayer good bad indifferent ugly immature, doesn’t matter.
The words of Christ matter, He said he was the healer, the life giver, the provider,
To much focus on us is faith killing.
We’re weak, power drained, limited.
Just simplify, take the word of Christ and begin to claim them, stand on them, put them into practice, try to apply them.
If His words get into your heart they will produce the fruit promised.
The words of Christ when heard produce faith.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stuck In The 70's

Philippians 3:13-14 Forgetting what is behind, I fix my eyes on Jesus

God is teaching a very specific view of how life is to be lived and Paul brings it to life in Philippians 3.

1.  We Can’t Live In The Past

God doesn’t not want you to live in the past, today is a whole new day in God’s economy.
The past is something that God does not want us to focus on.
If you take this verse as literal as possible the past is just a few minutes ago.
It’s behind.
There are a number of issues related to the past that this verse applies to:
-          Things we are holding onto
They are comfort zones, things we haven’t gotten over (unforgiveness), Things we want
-          Past Successes
Take pride in this feed off of them
Excuse lack of present progress because of past successes
-          Past Failures
Our fears are alive and well today.
Self esteem still diminished.
I mean 30 years ago is a long time until you start talking about a past failure
-          Ideals are in the past
There were perfect moments in time, in the past, and they can’t be recreated.
Pauls says we have to forget what is behind.
Do you have to put them out of our mind so thoroughly that we don’t even know they were there?
No, this is making the choices to let go of them and let them be in the past instead of trying to revive them, relive them, recreate them in the present.
It is counterproductive to the now and the future and the now the future is where God is. 

2.     God Is In The Now And Tomorrow

Paul said after he has forgotten what is behind, He presses on towards the high calling In Christ Jesus.
How do you do that?  
You fix your eyes on Jesus.
Why is that important.
We’re Following Him and nothing else.
He is the source of real success.
If we don’t get our eyes fixed on Him and keep them fixed on Him we will never put an end to the distractions.
Pressing forward is important to you also because you are a different person today.
And because of who you are now, God is now able to do new things, more things, different things, more mature works and so with all that He can do, you haven’t got time for the past.
He couldn’t do what He is doing today at another time.
The timing wasn’t right, you were in a different place.
And today is a new day, as Lincoln Brewster writes and that is not just about forgiveness.
Even if you just get it today, it is true and it’s time to get started moving.
If you are VERY mature it is true and it’s time to get moving forward.
So we have to forget what is behind, let go of it, get over it, and move on!
There is work to be done in this heavenward journey.

Don't Let The Devil Finish Your Sermons

     1.  The Devil Is A Created Being

      The Devil in reality is a created being who uses a lot of smoke and mirrors to get this work done.
Don’t underestimate that he is a powerful created being that operates on the other side of the vail of eternity.
What keeps him in check is that he operates within the perameters that God has established and even though he’s in rebellion against God he can’t violate those perameters without God’s permission.
So to compensate he uses smoke and mirrors, tricks, he uses tactics to take advantage of our humanity.
This is linked to the sermon I preached a recently to him who has ears.
One of the categories of people who have hearing problems are people that don’t know how to hear through the smoke and mirror tactics of the devil.
To hear through those tactics you have to obey James 4:7, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Today we are going to talk about one of those areas:  

2.  You Have To Resist By Controlling What You Hear

We do that by working to keep the devil from finishing our sermons for us.
What does that mean?
He wants to finish your sentences for you.
Sentences that are forming in your head because of what you have heard preached and from what you have read in the Scripture.
What are the sentences you are forming:
-          I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Phil. 4:8
-          I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who strengthens me Ro. 8:37
-          If God is for me who can be against me Ro. 8:31
-          No weapon formed against me can prosper Is. 54:17  
-          By His stripes I am healed Is. 53:4-5
-          Thank you for the peace of God that passes understanding Phil. 4:7
-          God loves me unconditionally Ro. 8:38-39
-          His grace is sufficient for me 2 Cor. 12:9
God is speaking life to His people through the input that He is exerting into our lives because we know Him and love Him.
Matthew 4:4
Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God.  

3.  The Devil Wants To Finish Your Sentences

He wants to write the end to the sermons for you.
He is not called the accuser of the brothers for no reason.
He is an expert accuser.
I can do all things, no you can’t, you’re weak, you’re a failure, you deserve the problems you are having.
He doesn’t hear your prayers He’s mad at you.
You’ve messed up to much.
What about the prayers He hasn’t answered, there’s a reason, you deserve the problems.
God doesn’t like you as much as you think.
Plus you are misinterpreting the Scripture, He’s not as powerful as you think.
There’s a reason that He hasn’t heard you.
You’re a failure.
You have a lot of success but what about all those problems?  

4.  We Have To Resist Him

You do that by beginning to stop him from finishing your sentences.
He doesn’t have personal information about your relationship with God.
God is the originator of keeping your information private.
He only knows stuff about people in general that He uses on you, trying to find something that works.
He thinks like he is seen in the book of job.
Give him enough suffering, take away his health, let his family suffer and lets see how his relationship goes from that point.
Job 1:22
Here’s Job resisting in everything he did not sin by accusing God of wrong doing.
He wasn't about to let the devil finish his sentences.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Plug Into His Power

Making Your Election Sure By Getting Plugged In!

This Is How To Get To Heaven In Style, Strong, Prepared!  God would not make you guess about something this important.  
The Assumption being made here is, you want everything about how to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
2 Peter 1:3-11 tells us about this point.  

1.   His Diving Power Is The Starting Point Of Everything  vs. 3

This is the juice that makes everything happen.  It’s how the Scripture counsels us to live.  It tells us that we must live by His power.  The Scripture says it this way in Zechariah 4:6 It's not by might not power but by my Spirit says the Lord.  Not in my own strength but His.  How do we know about plugging into this power that we are talking about this morning.

2.   We Know Because Of His Precious Promises vs. 4

They are not lightly made promises, they are treasured, precious, valuable, power creating, instructional promises. Promises that God has given us to empower us with the knowledge of how to get to heaven in style, strong, alive, prepared, in victory.     We are not told that we will just barely make it in and have to hope that everything will be okay.  This is what it tells us God is going to do through those promises.

3.   It Teaches Us How To Participate In The Divine Nature vs. 4

 From the Scriptures we learn how to plug into His power to become holy.  1 Peter 1:16 says, Be holy as I am holy.  Matthew 5:48 says, Be perfect just like your Father in heaven is perfect.  You can’t do that unless God helps you through the power of the Holy Spirit.  To do that takes hard work across a lifetime of living. 

4.  We Have To Make Every Effort To Add vs. 5-8

It doesn’t happen automatically but it tells us what to do in order to become Holy.  We have to make EVERY effort to make sure that there is addition going on in our lives toward these goals.
It gives some great suggestions:  To faith add goodness to goodness add knowledge To knowledge add self control to self control add perseverance to perseverance add godliness to godliness add brotherly kindness to brother kindness add love.  And we can't ever stop working on adding because it says that we need them in increasing measure to stay strong, triumphant, victorious, prepared, alive, vigorous.  By doing this here's what happens.
5.  We Make Our Elections Sure vs. 10

It says something really cool, if we follow these directions we won’t fall.  This is the perspective this text takes, we don’t want to become imprisoned again by falling into a trap.  1 Peter 5:8 says, be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  We can't allow ourselves to fall into his trap and become ensnared again.  Galatians 5:1 says, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.  That is what the adding process is helping us avoid so that we can can reach our goal.  And here's the ultimate goal and the really coll part.

6.  We Will Be Welcomed Into Heaven With Great Fanfare vs. 11
He’s going to get the party started when you arrive.  We are going to be welcomed into heaven with great fanfare.  It's going to be a great celebration.  

Weekly Verse:  2 Peter 1:5-8

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Are You A Humanitarian Or A Missionary

Sunday Service February 12, 2012
Humanitarian or Missionary?

Today we are going to talk about the difference between a humanitarian and a missionary.
Matthew 5:16
This is How I’m Defining A Humanitarian
1.       A Person Who Does Good Deeds Just To Do Them!
So a humanitarian is a nice person.
It’s a person who does good simply to do good.
They make the world a better softer place.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that especially when you consider the alternative to making the choice to be a nice people and to do good things for other people.
There’s plenty of room for humanitarian acts between people.
And you will reap the benefits of that choice, people will think you are nice and they like you.
You will like yourself a lot more also because it feels good to be nice to people.
You will have the satisfaction of knowing they have made others feel better.
Now The Missionary Has a totally different motivation.
2.       The Missionary Does Good For A Purpose
A Missionary Is A Person Who Does Stuff Because of The Mission.
The Missionary is looking to establish a connection with people on purpose.
The missionary wants to establish a connection with people so that they might establish a connection with God.
The missionary is intentional about this uses the opportunities that arise out of the good act to point people to a relationship with God.
So the Missionary looks to capitalize on those opportunities.
So if you are going to be a  missionary doer of good, you have to study up on the skills that you will need to capitalize on those opportunites.
-          You have to know some key scripture
o   How To Explain The Gospel
-          You have to have the boldness to launch onto a bridge that the good work has built.
-          You Have to be prayed up.
-          You have to really believe the message.
Here’s the great point of it.
3.       You Never Run Out Of Ammunition
The only limit that you have is the limits you place on yourself.
You can do this as much as your heart desires.
And there are an unending amount of options for creativity, for doing stuff that fits your personality, financial ability, skills and talents.
 And it works because God is right there with you when it comes to these efforts.
He doesn’t 1 person to perish without knowing Him.
2 Peter 3:9
So He is going to work through your efforts.
Wouldn’t it be cool to make that connection with someone and help them establish their relationship with Christ?
Yes it would.
Matthew 5:16 says what these good works are about, it is so that people will see your good works and praise your Father.
And Here’s What Happens For You 
Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Are We Fixed On?

There is a great verse of Scripture that I have been concentrating on today.  It's 2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  Everything seen is temporary but there is an unseen side of life that is eternal and that will last forever.  The Scripture gives us an eternal reference point that reminds us what to focus on.  This is a practical application of how to do what Hebrews 11 says about faith.  Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  We have to focus on the unseen side of life more than the seen.  What we see can be very discouraging.  What's seen can be such as strong foe that it can affect our ability to have faith as we persevere in the midst of our circumstances.  But there is something far better to focus or fix upon, that is the unseen.  What is the unseen?  It is what God is up to.  It is what God has to say about our circumstances.  It is what we know about Him because of what we have experienced.  It is what He is doing and has promised that we can't necessarily see at work.  So make an important decision.  Decide to focus on something that is far better than what you can see.  Focus on Him and His unseen eternal work.  It is a foundation to stand upon.  It is strength beyond the circumstances.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How Does A Person Change?

Sunday Service February 5, 2012

How Does A Person Change? 

I want to be your best cheerleader for change.  You can do it!  You can make changes!  There is a clear path to change.  God is a change agent.  2 Cor. 5:17 says God intends to make you into a new creation.  Quote:  Change Is Possible Because God Is Faithful.  Say it with me:  Change Is Possible Because God Is Faithful.
But how does a person change?  Philippians 4:13,  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

1.        Make The Decision
How motivated are you to change.  Making up your mind is very important.  Change Must Be A Cognizant Process.  Change is something you need to intellectualize.  This is a thoughtful process to change based on God’s direction.

Philippians 4:7-8

2.        Start Making Switches
You have to change ingrained behaviors.  Many of those behaviors are attached to something else.

                           a.       Long held habits

b.      Things you were taught

c.       Self defense mechanisms

d.      Coping skills

e.      Things you enjoy

f.        Difficult situations that occurred In your life

g.       Circumstances that you have put yourself in

So what are the switches that I am talking about?

3.       You Need A Plan Or You Won’t Change

                                         a.      You need something to substitute

                                         b.      It’s important to Avoid activities that trigger the behavior you are trying to change.

II Timothy 2:22 says to Flee Youthful lusts.  God is in the mind renewal business all you have to do is provide Him the resources.  You may have to sever ties with old pals.  That’s hard but the question is; “How bad do you want to make change”?
                                          c.      Be ready for the expected difficulties

You make a lot of changes in your life even if they are just the ones that you are forced into. If you boss says change or go bye bye I bet you change.  So you have experience with the difficulties and they are expected.
                                          d.      Develop accountability

1 Cororthians 11:1
Paul said follow me as I follow Christ and He checked up on the progress.  That’s accountability.

Weekly Verse:  Romans 12:1-2