Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit Series – Part 5 Gentleness


Galatians 5
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Gentleness = Merciful and Kindness

In other words, God does not have to be kind to us and we don’t deserve it nor could we earn it, yet God is mercifully kind to us. The Apostle Paul explained this truth to us in:

Romans 2:4  Do you despise the riches of His goodness (merciful kindness), forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness (merciful kindness) of God leads you to repentance?

God is mercifully kind, tolerant and patient with us. Without these attributes being clearly and continually displayed towards man, who would want to willingly repent of their sins and turn their lives over to Him? Serving God out of fear is not the same as serving God from a heart of love. We love Him because He first loved us. This God did only from his overwhelming and overriding heart of merciful kindness towards us when He gave us His Son. It is God’s hope that others would see Christ in us.

Romans 11:22  Therefore consider the goodness (merciful kindness) and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness (merciful kindness) if you continue in His goodness (merciful kindness). Otherwise you also will be cut off.

Titus 3
3  For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
4  But when the kindness (merciful kindness) and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
6  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7  that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Just as God shows us merciful kindness it is His desire that we grow and show this same merciful kindness to others. Not because they have earned it, deserve it or simply because we are having a good day. Rather, it is God’s hope that we have an abundance of merciful kindness in our lives so that we can show it to people when they least deserve it.

This gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit.
1.   It takes time to grow fruit.
2.   Fruit is meant to be consumed.
3.   This fruit is grown to meet the needs of others.
4.   The fruit on your tree of life cannot be taken by others, it must be grown and given to others by an act of your will.
5.   We disappoint God when we are not mercifully kind to others.
6.   We should be disappointed in ourselves when we do not have enough of this fruit to share with others.
7.   When we are mercifully kind it gives others a chance to change.

Proverbs 31:26  She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. (merciful lovingkindness)

Both Psalms 18 and 2 Samuel 22 record a song of David. This song is one of the most beautiful in all the collection of songs throughout the Bible. It was written late in the life of David, perhaps even as a farewell testimony to the goodness of God. The song recounts events earlier in David’s life wherein God blessed and favored David. One particular verse concludes with this declaration:

Psalms 18:35 … “Thy gentleness has made me great.”

David recognized he did not deserve the merciful kindness of God but nonetheless that gentle quality of God allowed David to rise from a shepherd boy to a King and recover from a murderous and adulterous past to be a man after God’s own heart. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Prove It!


James 3 NKJV
13  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.

13  If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. (NLT)

·        Prove it!
·        The person who is secure in his wisdom does not feel the need to speak first, speak loud or speak often.
·        James 1:19  Be swift to listen; slow to speak and slow to get angry.

14  But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.

·        Self-seeking = selfish ambition = contention = self-promotion
·        Comes from the root word in the Greek which means “day-laborer”, or one who works for the moment and only for self-interests.
·        The online Greek Lexicon renders the transliteration as “Electioneering” or as Aristotle references point: A self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means.

15  This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

·        Earthly – Born of this world … based on worldly knowledge … limited to the earthbound experiences and void of any Spiritual perspective.
·        Sensual – Appeals to the natural emotional aspects of man without God’s influence.
·        Demonic – Directed by the demons who oppose both God and man.

The wisdom which moves a person to seek selfish promotion in life above that which God has given them is at best earthly and at worst demonic.

16  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

·        Wherever we find jealous hearts, selfish motives and campaigns based on lies, there we will also find confusion and every evil thing.

17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

The wisdom of God is:
1.   Pure – Holy
2.   Peaceable – safe; secure; without rage
3.   Gentle = fair; mild; moderate
4.   Willing to yield – willing to listen to reason and be reasonable
5.   Full of mercy – kind and desirous of helping those who are troubled and/or less fortunate
6.   Without partiality = without ambiguity or uncertainty
7.   Without hypocrisy – undisguised; without deception; sincere

18  Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

·        Sown in peace – Seeds are not best sown during storms and chaos rather they are best sown in peace by those who are not stomping through the fields in anger or resentment.

James 3:13  If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. (NLT)

Conclusion: Each one of us is a witness for Christ. We have an opportunity to sow seeds of God’s love in the lives of others we know and meet. The wisdom which comes from God encourages us to be pure; peaceable; gentle; willing to listen; full of mercy; honest, clear, and sincere. This is honorable and the one way we prove we are doing God’s work and not promoting our own doctrines. If you are wise … prove it!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit Series – Part 4 Patience

Fruits of the Spirit
        Series – Part 4

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility, self-control. Against such there is no law.

(From Ashley Hammonds’ Notes on being A Fruitful Christian) Fruit is grown for a purpose. It is grown to be eaten in sweetness and enjoyed by the consumer. The fruits of the Spirit can be understood as fitting into three simple categories. They each have a primary purpose:
·        Fruit consumed and enjoyed by the grower
o   Love Joy Peace
·        Fruit intended for friends and neighbors
o   Patience Gentleness Goodness
·        Fruit we grow and offer to God
o   Faith Humility Self-Control

Patience = The ability to endure and to outlast the problem.

Hebrews 6
12  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13  For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
14  saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
15  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Faith and patience are the power points of a Believer.

God expects for us to grow up into Him in all things and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we might prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. We cannot please God without growing the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Gardening takes time and attention. Give the time and pay the attention necessary to plant, cultivate and grow fruit!

Supporting Scriptures:

2 Timothy 3:10  But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.

2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

1 Peter 3:20  those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

2 Peter 3:15  And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him — 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hearts, Homes, & Heaven


Today we stand in the midst of the Feast of Tabernacles. This fall harvest feast is one of the most celebrated feast of the Jewish year and a very special time on God’s calendar. Each year the Feast of Tabernacles reminds us of two things, one past and one future.
1.   The first is the fact that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and made them to dwell in booths or tents in a wilderness totally dependent on Him for every need.
2.   Also the future when Messiah will rule and reign on the earth for 1000 years and every nation will come to worship Him in Jerusalem.

It was during this feast, also referred to as the Feast of Ingathering, in the second year of Jesus’ earthly ministry when He said:

John 7
37  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
38  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Jesus has always had An “Open Door” Policy. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a “Whosoever will,” “He who has an ear,” “Lest at any time,” invitation. If anyone thirsts, let him come! As long as the door is open, anyone who believes can come on in … The Apostle John also wrote concerning a spiritual experience he had with another open door in the book of:

Revelation 4 NKJV
1  After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”
2  Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.

By the way, I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church and I see this as a blueprint paralleling that moment … or less than a moment really.
·        An open door in heaven
·        A voice like a trumpet
·        Come up here
·        Immediately I was in the Spirit
·        And I saw Jesus!

This further reminds me of the conversation Jesus had with a group of Pharisees in Jerusalem only 3 days before His crucifixion.

Luke 17
20  Now when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;
21  “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

24  “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.

26  “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
27  “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28  “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
29  “but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
30  “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Seems scary that it all could end in just the twinkling of an eye … as fast as lightning strikes … just when things are going well, people eating and drinking and marrying and doing business and building houses … then …

But thanks be to God! The door is still open now and will be open right up until the moment God closes it Himself – Just like He did on the ark.

Not only is the door to heaven open today but so is Every Heart and Every Home. Refuse to believe what the world, the news media, others or even your own experiences have to say about Hearts, Homes & Heaven

Believe God … The doors are wide open … come on in! Witness, and win souls for Christ … Harvest time is here! Happy Feast of Tabernacles …

Fruits of the Spirit Series – Part 3 Peace


Galatians 5
22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace <1515>, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

See that <1515> underlined after the word peace in verse 22? Don’t let it bother you too much, I’ll get to it in a moment. But for now, let’s read a few more familiar scriptures concerning peace.

Luke 2:14  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace <1515>, goodwill toward men!”

John 14:27  “Peace <1515> I leave with you, My peace <1515> I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace <1515>. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Romans 5:1  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace <1515> with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace <1515>.

Romans 14:17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace <1515> and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:19  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace <1515> and the things by which one may edify another.

There are 6 potential variations or shades of meaning associated with the definition and New Testament use of the word “peace” in these verses. Let’s look at what the <1515> may indicate in these scriptures.

From the OLB Greek/English Lexicon:

1515 εἰρήνη eirene i-ray’-nay
AV-peace 89, one 1, rest 1, quietness 1; 92

1) a state of national tranquillity
1a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war
2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and
harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
4) of the Messiah’s peace
4a) the way that leads to peace (salvation)
5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its
salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and
content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death

This is what it means to have peace and this is what peace can do for you, your family, your future and the world. Peace is one of the greatest blessings a person can possess and the fact that peace can be grown in our lives in whatever quantities we desire is an amazing gift from God. That’s like being given the key to Fort Knox or to the Bureau of Printing and Engraving or the Denver Mint. You can have as much as you are willing to grow.

Ephesians 2:14  For He Himself is our peace <1515>, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Philippians 4:7  and the peace <1515> of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3:16  Now may the Lord of peace <1515> Himself give you peace <1515> always in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Well Done


The New Testament gives an account of Jesus healing 10 lepers one day and even though all 10 were healed only one returned to Jesus to tell Him thanks. Jesus didn’t heal them to be thanked but nonetheless He appreciated the one who took time to be thankful. (Luke 17)

Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus explaining what will happen at the end of time. He said God’s people will all be gathered together and allowed to enter into the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. As some of the faithful pass by Jesus will verbally thank them and tell them “Well Done”. (Matthew 25:21)

Matthew 25
34  “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35  ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36  ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

Words of praise from an appreciative Lord and King. If Jesus remembers to be thankful to us, how can I forget to be thankful to others? This morning I want to take a few moments and speak to you from the heart of a pastor. For over 29 years I have been a father image to the members of our church, a life coach, pastor and friend to so many of you and your families.

During these past three decades I have asked a lot of you and together we have stretched ourselves out with a blanket of love, hope and help to the communities we serve in southeast Texas and beyond. We have reached virtually the entire world with the Gospel of Christ. We have provided spiritually motivated humanitarian relief and raised up churches, built orphanages, schools, dug water wells and spread the message of Jesus on every continent of the world in one generation.

Nowhere has our impact been felt more and needed greater than here in our own backyards. Even during the most recent destruction levied against the homes and businesses of our area, you, our Church On The Rock family, have risen to meet the challenge and continued to give Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow. You have done everything I have asked of you and stand ready and willing to continue the necessary relief efforts with the same heart you offered on day one.

Today, I am an appreciative pastor. Thankful to God for giving us His direction, protection and His divine wisdom and grace. We did not fully realize what we committed to and how much God was preparing us when we said yes to impacting Every Heart and Every Home in Southeast Texas with the Good News of the Gospel.

I will ask that you indulge me for just a moment as I go back into the Words God used from this pulpit Sunday after Sunday as He was preparing us to meet this challenge we are currently facing. Here are just a few things we have heard that helped to get us ready for Hurricane Harvey.

Excerpts from some our Sunday morning messages preached in 2017:

Sunday Morning, January 1, 2017

“This will be an eventful year for each one of you. God is going to supply you with clear answers to every situation you face.

The first step you need to take today is to stake your claim in God and commit this year to Christ. Do this with me in prayer right now.”

Sunday Morning, March 12, 2017

When we are in trouble … we can call on God and He will help us. 

I know, sometimes the way seems hard but God knows what is best for everyone concerned. Deliverance may take some time but our first step is to acknowledge our need for His help.”

Sunday Morning, June 4, 2017

I’m going to ask each one of you to personally check three things in your life today and throughout this summer.
1.  Your primary focus
2.  Your choice of words
3.  Your witness under pressure
a.   Check your attitude.
b.   Check your gratitude.
c.   Let the light of Christ shine in and through your life especially when you’re under pressure.

The Sunday morning before Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast

Sunday Morning, August 20, 2017

·        We can be saved and sick at the same time … right with God but not in a healthy place in life feeling mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually overwhelmed.
·        Here are six signs which indicate your soul is tired and weary
1.   Exaggerating the Negatives
2.   I can’t take one more thing
3.   You just want to run away and hide
4.   Angry or blaming others
5.   Feeling all Alone
6.   Paranoid

In troubled times we won’t just ask God to: “Fix my problem God!”, but rather, “God, fix me!”.

For several months prior God had been telling us that He was sending a wave to Southeast Texas in the fall and it would open Every Heart and Every Home. We had already ordered T-shirts and stickers saying “Team COTR” and “Every Heart Every Home”. We did not see what God saw but we were already willing and able. God had been equipping us for months.

That Sunday Morning, August 20th, 9 days before the troubled waters flooded our communities, we concluded the message that day by singing an old hymn. That’s something we have not done before. Do you remember what we sang?

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves;
He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

Love lifted me; Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help, love lifted me.

One of the things we discussed that day was the fact that Faith makes things possible, Faith does not make things easy.

I’m here today to say thank you to you. I am so proud of you and the way you have responded to the needs of others even in the face of your own personal losses. I have not heard one complaint from our church members. Rather you immediately began doing rescue work, some of you were trapped your homes, others started pulling carpet out for the victims, tearing out sheetrock, unloading trucks, delivering meals, working trash detail, running supplies, working overtime, opening homes, making phone calls, rebuilding houses, sleeping on floors, eating mystery meals and endlessly listening to and praying for the countless numbers of people needing someone to hear their story and receive an encouraging word.

I am very aware we were adequately equipped to do the work of the ministry and that became our portion. Thank you – each one of you. Thank you for paying attention and thank you for opening your heart and allowing the Word of God to prepare you long before we were so desperately needed.

I have never been prouder to be your pastor. Again, I say, Thank you! Well Done good and faithful servant!

As well, I am so very thankful for the ones God sent to help us in our time of need. We are forever grateful to our new friends and extended family.

Now … Let’s see how we can continue to reach Every Heart and Every Home in southeast Texas with the Good News Gospel of Jesus! Let’s continue to give Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow!