Saturday, March 16, 2013



I feel God wants me to encourage you:
        Don’t accept this world’s seeds of discontent as truth or direction in life. Do not follow pathways or people which appeal to your discontent.

From marriage to money, child raising to church, from the house you live in to the car you drive and the job you work – don’t allow discontentment to direct your life. Remember to establish: Principles before problems

You may learn a lot today but my hope is that you hear one thing clearly – Be content with Jesus … Don’t give up, give out or give in. Having said that

Welcome to Church on the Rock, “My Church”. I love my Church. Church on the Rock was founded and named Church on the Rock for a very specific reason. It is the same reason why we often call ourselves, “My Church”. The reason – it’s the heart of Jesus’ declaration recorded in:

Matthew 16:18 “Upon this rock I will build ‘My Church’; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Since Jesus first made this declaration the devil has been doing everything within his power to destroy the Church.

During the past 2000 years the Church has survived:
·        Judas
·        The stoning of Stephen
·        Nero
·        The hungry lions
·        The dark ages
·        Selling of indulgences
·        The crusades
·        The Spanish Inquisition
·        The excommunications of Queen Elizabeth I and Martin Luther
·        The witch hunts at Salem
·        Cannibalism
·        Televangelism
·        Communism
·        Atheism
·        Fascism
·        Feminism
·        Hedonism
·        Materialism
·        Denominationalism
·        The Moonies
·        Sex, drugs and rock and roll
·        Countless generational transitions
·        The Mayan calendar mis-calculation
·        Splits, hits, false doctrines and
·        Scandals too many to count

Truly the Church has been built on a Rock in such a way that neither the gates of hell nor well meaning schismatics could destroy it.

Let’s not forget that 2000 years ago the Church took its biggest hit from the devil, the government and the religious leaders of the day. Conspiring together they crucified our Lord on the Cross of Calvary …

He survived and so did we! Not only did He survive, but He was victorious … and so are we! We shall not give up, give out or give in.

Although the Church as a whole continues to spend most of its resources attempting to keep parishioners and congregants content with everything from sound and lights to air conditioning and recreational activities, while often little or nothing is spent on reaching the lost souls who sit in darkness without a witness, yet the Church is stronger today than it has ever been in history; The Church is larger, louder, more powerful and more productive than ever.

Today we at COTR begin our countdown to the Resurrection.

Here in Southeast Texas the weather has been phenomenal these past several days. 60’s and 70’s F, or for those of you watching in other countries that’s 15 to 25 degrees C … clear skies, low humidity and a light breeze with just a hint of spring in the air … beautiful!

I love the clear night skies. No matter where I travel throughout the world, when nighttime comes and the weather allows, I always look up and consider the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.

If you have looked up during the last few nights perhaps you’ve noticed a sliver of light just beginning to reveal the new moon. This particular new moon is a very special new moon.

God led the Children of Israel to mark their calendars with the new moon beginning each new month. According to the lunar cycle each month lasts 28 days. These feasts and festivals of Israel were all set to specific dates as determined by the phases of the moon. All the days of each month were counted from the first sliver of light.

Like I said, the new moon we just observed is a very special new moon.

Exodus 13
3  And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
4  "On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.

This new moon you saw about 5 or 6 nights ago marked “Abib”.

Abib is the ripened state of barley in which the heads of grain are just turning golden brown and drying just enough on the stalk so that the first fruits are almost ready to be handpicked and offered to God. All of this was commanded according to day of the month counted down from the first sight of the new moon at sundown.

The first day of Abib begins in the evening with the new moon of Abib … this is also marks the New Year. 14 days later, at sundown, Passover begins. This is the day Jesus was crucified and buried just before sundown. 3 days after Passover, on the 16th of Abib, the sheaf of first fruits is presented to the priest and once accepted, the harvest can begin … herein is a picture of the resurrection of Christ and the birth of the Church to fulfill the Great Commission and the harvest of souls on the earth.

There are several other important days in this month, Abib. Like the presentation of the Passover Lamb for inspection on the 10th day and the beginning of the counting of the days of Omer which we will not get into today, but suffice it to say, these are special days to heaven, special days in the history of the Jewish people and special days to the Church.

The month of Abib, which began to be called Nissan during the Babylonian captivity, is also the month in which the Children of Israel made their exodus from Egypt. As well it is the time in which Jesus would have chosen to begin His journey to Jerusalem and His countdown to the cross.

While on this last walk with His disciples from Galilee to Calvary, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees, He taught little children, healed the blind, cleansed the lepers, met the young rich ruler, gave parables concerning the Kingdom and called Zacchaeus to come down out of that sycamore fig tree in Jericho. Let’s begin our countdown today as we read from Mark 10.

God’s plan has a time table and there is a time and a season for everything under heaven. God makes all things beautiful in His time. It’s our job to let God be God … only He is qualified for the job. Our call is to follow Him.

Mark 10
33  "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles;
34  "and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."

These scriptures teach us the process of life and the four stages of life we all experience: Birth; Tests; Death; and Resurrection. With each step we are encouraged to be content and at peace with God’s plan for our life. Jesus is busy building the Church – you are His building materials. The gates of hell shall not prevail. What is your part in this process:

1.   Don’t give up --- and quit on God because you are discontented
2.   Don’t give out --- and slack off on the work because you are tired
3.   Don’t give in --- and go along with the world because it’s easier