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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sunday meeting, Come to the light, give Jesus a chance.


We often hear John 3: 16, perhaps we need to hear it in a greater context 16-21.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Christ did not condemn you, you are condemned already if you do not follow Christ. The choice is yours. You have been shown an exit, the alarms are sounding, leave before the fire engulfs all around you. You can still be saved. Start toward the exit.

I have had a preacher get angry about "give Jesus a chance," he wanted instant, total, commitment. That would be nice, and better for you, but we live in a feel and touch it world. In John chapter 20 Thomas asked to put his hand in the wound in Christ's side that he might know it was really the resurrected Christ. Thomas will be with us in heaven, but Jesus said it is better to believe than to doubt.

Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Taste of the Lord, give Jesus a chance. The joy of a relationship with Jesus is beyond description, it is far better and more enduring then any pleasure.

Taste of the Lord and see that he is good.

Jesus is Lord!


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Midweek Service, Start over

Salvation is a chance to start over. You blew it, frequently. Guess what? You will keep blowing it.

You will never get it perfect.

That means you need help.

Help to start over.

Get saved.

Ok, now you are saved, guess what?

You will still blow it frequently.

The difference is now you have help. You can improve, and blow it from a higher level next time, and get help, and improve again.

Now to a bit of a dangerous step of faith. This is not to test God. This is not for a novice that is jumping all over the place because they lack a foundation.

This is for someone that spends time in the Bible and in prayer seeking God. As you spend time with God you will begin to recognize his voice. If it is super important God will make sure there is no question in your mind and heart as to what is the right thing to do. He will also confirm it with other witnesses that share what is already known to you.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

There is another leading, the still, small voice of God. He will never tell you something contrary to his word, God does not contradict himself. You have prayed, you have read his word, you are seeking his face. Now you think you hear God, "go talk to that person." Go! God is big enough to take your step of faith and use it to everyone's good. Pray, "God I'm going, trusting it is you leading, stop me if I'm wrong, bless the results either way."

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? I Kings 19: 11-13

The Holy Spirit will guide you. God Loves you. Trust him, move as he directs.

Jesus is Lord!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sunday Service, 24 July 2005 God In A Box


How big is your God?

With our last message we discussed how we perceive God. What we feel God wants and desires is often, wrongly, what we have learned through our social group is desirable. We need to go to God and find out his desires from him.

This won't come as a surprise, I am not perfect. God has a lot of error to work out of me, in his time and with his priorities. The same is true for you, your pastor, the evangelist, your local church, and your denomination. As you grow in Christ, you should find yourself disagreeing with all of the above on some things, including yourself.

If you defend or root for any of the above by reflex, perhaps you need to take a step back and find out what God sees. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; all of man's constructs are prone to error.

It is ok for Chicago to be divided North and South over which baseball team they root for. It is not ok for the Church to be divided over small issues between local churches. The local churches and their denominations may all be wrong! Your relationship with Christ is not a team sport, it is a one on one commitment.

You may very well find as you grow in Christ that he has you leave one church or denomination for another. This is not usually because the first was so bad; it is one of the ways God works on you and the churches. If you find a perfect church, it won't be as soon as you join it.

God is smarter than we are. God is wiser than we are. God is the Truth. God loves us more than we love ourselves. We need to get out of the box we have trapped ourselves and our God in, and let his love direct us to his truth.

Follow God, not man, or man's teaching. God will make your steps of faith work to the benefit of all concerned.

Perhaps that nest in which you were born again is for young birds. As you grow and spread your wings it may be time to fly off on your own. You will make mistakes, God is big enough to plan for that, to pick you up, and still work those mistakes out to your, and everyone's good.

Seek God's face.

Do God's will.

That it may be well with you.

Jesus is Lord!


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mores versus absolutes


A teaching you probably won't hear in Sunday school, from Junior Partner Ministries.

From Dictionary.com, Mores: The accepted traditional customs and usages of a particular social group.

A major problem for us as Christians is deciding what is important. If we take as our baseline what God thinks is important, as important, we will not go far wrong. Since we frequently use our personal views instead, we have wasted a lot of time and opportunity.

No matter the culture in which we live, there are many things we take as abhorrent that other social groups would find normal. We assume God finds them abhorrent because they make us upset. Quite often we are wrong.

A first test; do you object to the actions of others that have no impact on you? If the people doing the actions are not Christian it does not matter what they do. Everything the unsaved does is sin, they have missed the target, they can not become pleasing to God by changing what they do. If you preach at a non Christian about their actions, having several wives, marrying at age 12, being homosexual, practicing all sorts of things you find unusual or frightening; you are wasting your breath. Worse you are wasting preaching that could be used in love to bring them to Christ. Your condemnation of supposed evil is redundant, evil is already condemned, and God may not care if they have 100 wives. These people may need help, but they do not need alienation.

Our job is to provide light, not to curse the darkness.

Here are some versus, from the Bible, that many would condemn in a tv show.

To describe men:

And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. 1 Kings 16:10-12

Many call this a picture of Christ with his Church from Song of Solomon:

How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

Would hearing that on the TV in front of your family make you uncomfortable?

This is in the Bible. God does not flinch at saying it, why do you complain at reading it?

We are products of our society. We need to become citizens of Heaven. We need to renew and conform our minds to be in synch with God. We are to be aliens in this land, ambassadors for our home in heaven.

If you are a Christian, let God help you escape sins he defines as sin. The Holy Spirit will convict you and guide you, if you will let him. God may only work on a few of your problems at a time, let him pick what, and in what order.

If a Christian brother is in sin, pray for him. Be sure it is sin you are praying against and not just something your barbarian tribe condemns. God may not ever get around to addressing what your Christian brother is doing that bothers you the most; God will solve their and your problems in his order. That is best for everyone.

In short:

Don't condemn sin in unbelievers, lead them to Christ and then let the Holy Spirit work.

Pray for your family in Christ and have patience with them, and pray they will have patience with you.

Pray for me.

Jesus is Lord!


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sunday Service 17 July 2005


Love, or as it says in the King James, Charity.

We all have God's love. In us, toward us, and to share with others.

So how do we get so arrogant about our petty differences?

One of us may be better trained, one is taller, another is a teacher or preacher, one may be a bit smarter, or has a little more fashion sense. These may set us apart, but in reality we are so very close together in all things. 20 years of school vs 12 in a 70 year life, and the third grader may be more wise. 6' 4'' when average may be 5' 10'', a six inch difference that is not noticed when both stand next to a mountain.

You are not the equal of everyone, you are unique. But if everyone is unique, then there should be no superiority or inferiority in being one of a kind.

God made you the way you are for a reason. God knew that at some moment of doubt, you might come to him and ask, why? If you will listen, God will explain how you, just as you are right now, can accomplish what God wants from your life; and what will give you joy in living your life.

What you do with God's love right now is important. The actions you take next based on God's love and direction are important. Our small differences are just a tool that makes us appropriate to a task. A hammer is not superior to a saw, but if you have a job to do, it may be important to have both. We are tools in God's box, and he has given us tools to accomplish our job.

Your spiritual job may be like a carpenter. God may assign you a task of training the new guy, But your job is still carpenter. While training you may use a hammer and a saw, but your job is still as a carpenter, and you are still on task.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God that worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. I Corinthians 12:4-7

Read First Corinthians, the whole book. There is a reason that in those books where God talks about gifts that he leads up to them slowly, they are not the first thing you are exposed to.

Now just as your physical and mental differences are not a cause for exultation or abasement, so are spiritual gifts are not a cause for celebration, they are tools of love. You may also want to find our May 25, 2005 service about “decently and in order.”

But always in love:

And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. I Corinthians 13: 13

Jesus is Lord!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

13 July 2005 Heaven and Hell

We have the imagery in the Bible; the praise going on in Heaven, the fire of Hell.

We can create wonderful pictures of human actions. A fellow I knew who was over 80 years old talked of Moreso's law. His point was that contrary to our personal image of the elderly as kind, sweet, or perhaps stubborn; something mentally framed by our associations with some exceptional aged folk, the elderly are just people. He pointed out that as people age, unless there is some form of transforming agent in their lives, they will be just like they were when they were young; angry, happy, loving, sour, etc, only "more so." Hence Moreso's law.

C. S. Lewis drew us a mental picture of Hell, everyone was seated at a banquet table filled with wonderful food. The problem arose in that the food was several feet away, and they all had three foot long forks and knives. They could just reach the food, but the utensil's were too long to get the food into their mouths. There was anger, fighting, screaming and unpleasantness abounding. Think of the expansion of Moreso's law for eternity.

Lewis also drew us a picture of Heaven, same huge banquet table filled with wonderful foods. The banqueters in Heaven with equipped with those same three foot long utensils. The difference was the joy, laughter, and excitement at the table; they were feeding each other, and enjoying a great feast. They had learned the joy of service on earth, and now they had eternity to enjoy it, only more so.

Heaven is a place God has created for all men, and he has created a way to be sure your name is on the A list. There is no B list. You learn to grow in joy here on earth, and continue that growth for eternity. Heaven can be seen as a place of eternal fellowship with God, and with fellow lovers of Christ.

Hell is best pictured as a place of punishment for Satan, the greatest punishment being eternal separation from God. Satan is Going to Hell, and God will throw away the key. Hell was not made to punish people, but if a person insists on following the Devil and ignoring God's plan of escape , they will follow their boss Satan right into his eternal misery.

The real question is how will you live this life? The first option is to keep on being just as you are; angry, rebellious, confused, etc, and if you age becoming more so. The second option is to invite Christ into your life. The Holy Spirit can dwell in you and guide you as you become less a slave to the moment, more a joy filled resident of Heaven, and more and more and more, for eternity.

As C. S. Lewis said in the kid's story Chronicles of Narnia, "Further up and further in."

Jesus is Lord!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sunday Service at Junior Partner Ministries

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. ICorinthians 1:10

We are not perfect, in Christ we can share his perfection. If we were duplicates of each other, one of us would be unnecessary. God knows we will not always agree on everything. What we can do, what we must do, is not argue over non-essentials. This does not give us an out, so we can say, "Hah, we are right and it is essential that you believe in post nasal drip like we do."

The essentials, as copied here from the Junior Partner Ministries website are:

A) Eternal salvation is a gift not earned through works.

B) Salvation is only through Jesus Christ'’s willing, sacrificial death for you.

C) The great mystery of the Trinity, one God, three persons; Father God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ. Look at Matthew 3: 16, 17 to see the three interacting. Now read the Whole chapter, then the whole book of Matthew to get the quote in context.

D) Jesus was God made flesh among us, Jesus died for us, Jesus rose from the dead in victory, and Jesus Now sits at the right hand of the Father.

As you grow, you will become aware of a huge list of areas where you need God'’s help to change. You will also notice others are in need of change. There are two points to consider here. First, what bothers you most in others may be a problem you need to work on in yourself. Second, what God considers the most important problem in another may not bother you at all. Have patience with your fellow Christians, pray for them as God works his will in them in God'’s order and time; and pray they will have patience with you.

If you must find fault, look at yourself. We all have errors and false doctrines that we have left unchallenged. Pray and ask God to help you root out those errors in yourself that most distress him. We need to get the log jam out of our eyes so we can see if that really is a speck in our brother's eye.

Judge righteous judgment, judge yourself first.

Perhaps as we see the depth of error in our own thoughts we will develop the humility to allow an occasional (forgiven in Christ) transgression in others.

We are not perfect, our fellow believers are not perfect. We can be in agreement and just do as God tells us to do; live in love, not division.

Jesus is Lord!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mid week service

Bastiat Free University is up and running. Our Junior Partner Ministries School of Theology is up on the same site. You can register for free. Take a look at the materials, use what will help you. Our goal is to have cost appropriate learning available to everyone. Tailor a class schedule to your needs today. We will be adding more classes in the near future, be sure to bookmark the site and check back.

This will be the Wednesday sermon, go to BFU and read about the knowledge that is available for you.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Jesus is Lord!


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Sunday Service, 3 July; Jus' good 'nuf


I heard a 50s song, I think it was "Teen Angel," with the lyrics something to the effect "I lost my honey so I got ta be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world."

If by misconception as is probable in this song, or by straight deception, a lot of people miss the point.

You can not please God by being good.

For you, right now, the only way to please God is to be perfect. God knew you wouldn't make it, so he sent Jesus who is still perfect, and he took the punishment and pain that your actions have created.

Jesus gave you the law you need to perfectly follow:

Then one of them, a lawyer,asked tempting him and saying "Master which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said unto him "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:35-40 ( KJV), see also Luke 10: 25-37

Look at the 19 June 2005 service. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Christ took all those "unto others" you have committed and received the "unto you"s on the cross. Christ took the price of all your anger at God for your own created problems, and gave God the love and obedience you missed. By coming short of perfection you made satan your leader, he is the source of the deception. Hell is satan's penalty, his followers will join him there. God wants you in heaven with him, and living a life of joy now.

There are three powers available to you. God the creator of all things has the power and has delegated some authority to man. One of God's creations, satan has some derived authority, stolen from man. You have your own rightful authority, take it back from the thief. Alone you are going to be whipsawed by higher authorities as they battle. Aligned with satan there will be more authority, but it will be destructive, to him ultimately and by association to you constantly. Align with God and power with authority are granted to you to be used in love. Satan the creature can not stand before your position in Christ.

Yes, God is love. Yes he has a plan for all those that don't read this service, and yes he knows all the other smoke screens you hide behind. You are the man behind the curtain, you are only deceiving yourself.

God is love. God loves you. God is smarter and wiser than you are. It is to your benefit to do what he says. The Bible says Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. If you want a life of joy, if you want to exchange your excuses for truth, if you want to walk along the path God has provided for you:

Accept Jesus Christ as your savior now!

Jesus is Lord!