Sunday, November 30, 2003

Opportunity & Ability

Family Sunday

Opportunity & Ability


Call the children up

The Adults can turn to Genesis 45 (NIV)

Tell the story of Joseph to the children: Genesis 37

From his home, to the pit, to his master‘s house, to the prison, to the palace. It took 23 years, from 17 to 40, to get to:

Genesis 45

5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God …

Children can go back to their seats

God does not call you where His grace cannot keep you.

Calling is the opportunity God gives us

Grace is the ability God gives us to seize the opportunity

So many are ready and willing to curse the darkness but few seem to be foresighted enough to search for a way to light a lamp.

Still many today seem so eager to hold up the future’s unfolding with questions of Why?, while some rise to the future’s need with the resounding courage saying, Why Not!

All in all it is still not man’s plan or time table we are operating on, but God’s.

God has a plan

He will succeed

We have been called and graced to participate

A person can be called and graced and still not know what it is they are accomplishing.

This is why it is so important to:

Bloom where you are planted!

Key Scripture: Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. (NKJV)

We cannot succeed by our own design or under the influence of our own wisdom or even the collective votes and/or vetoes of others.

To be called, proven, placed and kept in a position by the Holy Spirit is God’s choice, and for reasons only He needs deem valuable.

There is only one qualifying factor for every position man holds: It’s God.

* THE WHY ceases to be important when THE WHO is God.

Neither Peter nor Judas would have qualified to be invited & included if only seen through their eyes or the eyes of other men.

Let’s look at Peter’s resume:

A Jewish fisherman with no formal education, quick tempered and prone to violence.

A long history of run-ins with the law; arrested several times, considered to be a notorious rioter, was sentenced to death by the highest court, but escaped prison the night before execution.

A reputation for being a cussing, lying betrayer of his friends, who sometimes quit when the going got tough and retreated to his parents house, spending his time fishing.

A church splitter, dividing congregations on issues which had been long established, culturally embraced and widely taught.

A legalistic hypocrite as discovered by the Apostle Paul at Antioch when Peter withdrew himself from eating with gentile Christian brothers considered to be unclean. Galatians 2:11ff

Without regard as to how we arrived in the position we are in, let’s look at some common threads that run through each.

Some of you hold positions as mother; father; friend; school teacher; bank teller; policeman; fireman; college student; homemaker; painter; pastor; lawyer; employer; waiter; actor; doctor; truck driver or secretary. It is safe to say that each of you serve in some position of life.

As such, the position you hold carries with it an obligation, a duty beyond just getting through the day and meeting the quota.

God has qualified you to serve His interest right where you are. He and He alone has supplied you the opportunity and He is supplying the grace. Now …

Let’s look at the Three Common Duties each person owes the position they currently hold.

I. We Have A Duty To Protect

A. Our Lives & Our Families

B. Our Friends & Our Communities

C. Our Nation & Our World

1. From the enemies of the soul

* mental anguish

* emotional trauma

* Stinking Thinking

> worldly appetites

> false doctrine

> self absorption

* Romans 12

1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

2. From the enemies of the body

* Sickness & Disease

* An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

3. From the enemies of the spirit

* The flesh

* The devil

* Other people’s evil influence

II. We Have A Duty To Prepare

A. Ourselves & Others

1. For Life

2. For Death

3. For Eternity

B. John 14

2 "In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

C. 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

D. Revelation 21:2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

E. Ephesians 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

F. Well over 200 times in the bible we are in some way reminded to prepare.

III. We Have A Duty To Promote

A. The Top 7

1. God

2. Jesus

3. The Holy Spirit

4. Family

5. Church

6. Heaven


B. We Promote Things

1. By talking favorably about them

* How shall anyone know if they are not told? Romans 10:14

2. Through participation

* One of the first things I ask when someone tells me how wonderful something is, is: are you going?; do you have one?; have you tasted it? If not … perhaps their advice is not as valuable as it could be.


7. Others

* Philippians 2

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

* 1 Corinthians 10:24 We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. (The Message)

When was the last time you did something solely for someone else’s benefit?

God has qualified you and allowed you to hold the position you have.

He has given you the opportunity and the ability to serve.

Now it is up to you to perform the duties that the position requires:

* Protect

* Prepare

* Promote

Sunday, November 23, 2003

The First Steps

The First Steps


You may wish to turn in your bibles to 1 Timothy

Key Scripture: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

Last Sunday morning my sermon had three points:

1. God has a plan

2. He will succeed

3. We have an opportunity to participate

By the end of the service we had concluded that most of us were in one of three possible places and needed God to:

1. Show us what He wants us to do

2. Get us ready to do it

3. Open the door

Since last Sunday, so many of us have sensed God at work in us. Others returned to the business of life and even though we were unaware, God was nonetheless working on us & around us, without us even knowing. How can this be? Did I fail to mention:

God has a plan and He has included you. Your opportunity is coming.

What we face in life, the bountiful blessings, along with the Tests and trials are designed to work for us, not against us. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

When God sent His angel, Gabriel, to Mary, (Luke 1), and announced to her that God had a plan and that He had included her, her response was to simply: Mary offered herself up to the plan of God.

She may not have realized God was so serious and that He took her response ,“Be it unto me according to Your word.“, very seriously.

The plan of God, like a seed, entered into Mary’s life and, although it took some time and some change on her part, she eventually …

The same thing happened to Joseph, her fiancée, it was tough and embarrassing at one point, then really a blessing at another, but through it all, he allowed God to be the both the author and the finisher of his faith. (Hebrews 12:2) Like Joseph, Your life should be a script that only God could write and only God could produce

The Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy, to be faithful to God‘s plan and be content to allow God time and room to work that plan.

Point #98 God is working on you, to work in you, so He can work through you.

Point #38 What you are going through may not be punishment for the past, but positioning for the future.

Point #179 It’s not what you are going through, but what you are going to that matters most.

Point #154 God does not have to first seek your permission before He upsets your plans.

Have you found 1 Timothy 6 (NIV)

3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,

4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul is saying, Timothy, don’t be overcome with the pursuit of success, rather Find Satisfaction by Discovering Your Purpose and Pursuing Your Destiny

God has a plan and it includes you.

Destiny is your opportunity to participate in God’s plan.

The First Two Steps

1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain.

If godliness with contentment is gain, then godliness with discontentment is moot, and ungodly discontentment is great loss

Step 1: Decide To Be Godly … It’s A Choice

* It’s a choice not to be ungodly

Cuss; lie; cheat; steal; fornicate; get drunk; do drugs

Step 2: Learn To Be Content

Remember Our Key Scripture: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Look more closely at that passage in context:

11b For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Even become godly and content … make it your goal, Jesus will help.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Opportunity Is Knocking At Your Door

Opportunity Is Knocking At Your Door


Three Great Truths:

1. God has a plan

2. He will succeed

3. You have an opportunity to participate

Please turn in your bibles to The Book Of Ester, Chapter 4

Key Scripture: Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (NIV)

I think of Jonah. A man called to be a prophet to Nineveh. Jonah 1:2

A man who wrestled with his calling, with his self worth and with his God. A man appointed, a man born to a purpose.

I think of Samson, born in season to be a judge of Israel. What a waste of calling, passion and strength. In life and in death he never served anyone but himself, Samson Numbers 16:28 finally falling prey to his carnal appetites and agonizing revenge.

I think of Cyrus. A man whom God called by name and wrote his destiny in the scriptures more than 100 years before the man was born. King Cyrus Isaiah 45:13; 2 Chronicles 36:22; Ezra 1:1; Daniel 10:1 King Cyrus must have found his destiny written in the scriptures and embraced his opportunity to serve.

2 Chronicles 36

22 ¶ In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfil the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:

23 "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’"

Isaiah prophesied from about 762 to 698 BC

Jeremiah prophesied from about 628 to 588 BC

Cyrus was not born until about 599 BC

Cyrus became King of Persia in 559 BC

Babylon fell before Cyrus’ army in 538 BC

The night of Belshazzar’s feast of Daniel 5:30

God has a plan

He will succeed

People have an opportunity to participate

I think about less well known people like those nameless and faceless believers in Acts 9:25, who lowered the Apostle Paul through a window, down a wall so that he escaped arrest and pre-mature imprisonment at the hands of the governor of Damascus.

2 Corinthians 11:33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

I think of The Children of Israel at Kadesh-Barnea, Numbers 13 What an opportunity for a generation to pass up. Still, God’s plan does not change. The players do, but the plan doesn’t.

Have you found the book of Ester yet? Right in front of Job.

Let me tell a little of the story. Ester had reasons, she was afraid …

Ester 4:14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (NKJV)

God has a plan

He will succeed

We, each one of us, are born for an opportunity to participate.

What is God’s plan?

That the whole world will hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

He will succeed …

By any and all means, even if it cost Him your life.

He has already sacrificed His Only Son --- Don’t think for one moment that He is going stop short of success.

What opportunity do you have to participate in God‘s plan?

You have a life calling

A calling is an invitation to come and be prepared.

Matthew 22:14 Many are called but few are chosen. (Why?)

Few prepare for their calling.

You don’t have to be a preacher or FT missionary.

What is your life calling?

What has God been preparing you for?

Identify your life scripture.

Develop your life message.

Embrace your life destiny.

Are you:

A Goer?

A Stayer?

A Prayer?

A Payer?

Who knows, perhaps you came to the kingdom for just such a reason as that.

God has a plan

He will succeed

You have the opportunity to participate

Volunteer Today! You will never do anything on a day that is not called today. Here’s how to respond right now.

Close: Invitation to embrace the opportunity. One day I walked down a church isle and publicly embraced my opportunity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Practical Information

Practical Information


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

(The notes below have been taken freely from many study references including commentaries of the bible, dictionaries, encyclopedias and notes of the bible from various authors. The result of this research is that direct quotes have been made without reference to their sources, being many and exhausting.)

Biblical Chronology is a branch of study that attempts to discover a sequence of events and the amount of time that elapsed between them.

Even though few events in the bible can be given exact dates, knowing the sequence of events can be valuable in determining how they may have influenced or overlapped each other.

It is quite interesting to note which prophets were contemporaries and what the historical background of their eras were. In order to place an event in a setting and time, we must somehow be able catalogue it chronologically.

Before time was divided up into BC, (before Christ), and AD, (anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord”), events were dated by their relationship to other important events, such as the founding of Rome or the beginning of a kings reign, etc.

In the 6th century a monk named Dionysius Exiguus invented our present method of dating with the birth of Christ dividing history. Strangely enough he made a miscalculation in his computations and the odd result is that Jesus Himself had to have been born earlier than 4 years “before Christ”.

Let me explain:

* According to Matthew 2:1, (Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,),

> Jesus was born in the days of Herod the king.

* The 1st century AD historian Josephus recorded that Herod died in the spring of the year we identify s 4 BC.

> Herod died in the spring of 4 BC. Josephus

* Accordingly Luke 2:1-2, (1 ¶ And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.), tells that Jesus’ birth occurred when Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor, decreed that a census should be taken. This was the first enrollment, when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.

* Document discoveries along with other evidence suggests that these Censuses were taken every 14 years. By their calculations: > This census would have been roughly in 8 o 9 BC.

* Given the time it took to travel, most likely

> Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem in 7 BC.

* 6 or 7 BC would also agree with Cyrenius, (Quirinius), serving a short period as governor of Syria, by some accounts.

* Given all of this data it is reasonable to most scholars that:

> Jesus was born about 7 BC.

Further: In considering The Beginning of Jesus’ Public Ministry

* Luke 3:23, ( And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,),

> Records that Jesus was about 30 years of age when He began His public ministry.

* If we add the number 30 to the suggested birth year of Jesus, He would have then began His public ministry in about 22/23 AD.

* However, we know Jesus’ ministry began after John the Baptist came on the scene. Luke 3:1-3 dates John’s public appearance precisely in “the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberias Caesar” while Pilate was procurator over Judea.

* Pilate governed Judea from 26 to 36 AD and

* The 15th year of Tiberias was most likely AD 27.

* Therefore Jesus did not begin His public ministry until at least 27 AD or thereafter. So it is reasonable to assume that:

> In 27 or 28 Jesus was baptized and began His ministry

> He would have been approximately 33 years old

* All of the data concerning earth quakes, solar eclipses, dates that correlate to which Passovers between 26 & 36 AD, when Pilate was procurator in Judea, did the 14th or 15th of Nissan fall on a Friday?, (The answer is AD 27, 29, 30 & 33. Of those 27 is too early and 33 is too late.), all go into making an informed guess as to the year Jesus died.

* According to John’s account, Jesus spent 3 Passovers with His disciples and died on the 14th of Nissan, at the third Passover, and rose again on a Sunday morning, (the 1st day of the week), commonly called thereafter, The Lord‘s Day.

> Jesus’ crucifixion then had to be in 29 or 30 AD

> Jesus was either 35 or 36 years old at His death

* No one can know exactly for sure … but it helps having some educated information to put events into perspective.

* All four of the gospels seem to indicate that Jesus ate the last supper with His disciples on a Thursday night, was crucified on a Friday and rose again on early Sunday morning.

Knowing the chronology can give us a much greater understanding and a better perspective than we could have without this knowledge.

* For example: Study of the scriptures would reveal that:

> Daniel was 82 years old when he was cast into the lion’s den.

> Methuselah was 969 years old when he died, the oldest man every recorded. Did you know that he died in the same year that God told Noah to go into the ark and the flood began? 1656 AC

^ Methuselah walked & talked with Adam 247 years

^ Methuselah walked & talked with Noah 500 years

^ Methuselah walked & talked with Shem 100 years

^ Abraham died at 175 years old

^ Shem outlived Abraham by 35 years

^ Jacob was already 50 years old when Shem died

This type of information, studiously found from earnest study, reveals that the story of creation was most likely passed by word of mouth from great grandparents to great grandchildren:

Adam to Methuselah

Methuselah to Shem

Shem to Abraham

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

In order to create perspective and an appreciation for the history and chronology of the bible, I encourage you get an easy reading translation of the bible and begin reading in Genesis and read the story of God and His people. History, the bible and its characters will come alive like never before.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

How To Receive From God

How To Receive From God


Please turn to The Book Of Hebrews, Chapter 4

Key Scripture: Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right. (NLT)

I believe that: There is no problem with provision, but rather with possession.

“When it is all said and done, I would have been willing to give you more than you are going to get.”

Hebrews 4

1 ¶ God’s promise of entering his place of rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to get there.

2 For this Good News—that God has prepared a place of rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t believe what God told them.

3 For only we who believe can enter his place of rest. As for those who didn’t believe, God said, "In my anger I made a vow: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’" even though his place of rest has been ready since he made the world. (NLT)

Four Steps To Receiving

I. Grace

* Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (AV)

A. Grace Provides

B. If God promised it and Calvary paid for it, you can possess it.

C. Over 7000 Promises (Including Some Of The Most Necessary)

1. Salvation

2. Continual Cleansing & Forgiveness Of Sins

3. Blessings For The Righteous

4. Healing

5. Purpose

7. Provision

* Hebrews 3:14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. (NLT)

II. Hope

* Romans 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (NIV)

A. Hope Envisions

1. Hope Is A Visionary That Does Not Yet Possess

2. Hope Says Tomorrow Will Be Better, But Does Nothing About Making It Better … But Hope.

3. Hope Is Not Bad … Hope Anchors Us

* Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

4. We Must Believe In Before We Can Believe For

B. Hope says “It‘s Possible” , “One day, Some way, Some how …”

C. Hope will keep you smiling while your ship goes down.

* Hope is a necessary step. But Hope won’t produce by itself.

* This is where the next step comes in - remember:

* Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (AV)

III. Faith

* Hebrews 11:1 ¶ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)

A. Faith Lays Hold On

B. Faith inherits and sees it as already accomplished

* Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

C. You have just got to have faith in God.

* Simply trust that He miraculously ordained and preserved the scriptures in the manner and form He so chose to represent Him and that by them, He is telling you the truth.

D. Now trust Him and give Him a little time to do it His way

* Mark 9:23-24 “… all things are possible to him who believes … Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” (lack of faith/trust in God)

E. Four Ways To Get Faith

1. Romans 12:3 “… God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (NKJV)

2. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (AV)

* John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

3. Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (NIV)

4. 1 Corinthians 12

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

9 to another faith by the same Spirit … (NKJV)

IV. Patience

* Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (NIV)

A. Patience Possesses

* Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls. (AV)

B. The Concept Of Patience:

* Steadfastness; Endurance; Perseverance; Consistency

C. Patience is the tool we use to keep hope alive while we grow in faith so we can rest in God’s grace.

D. Patience keeps us from trying to do it for God

* Genesis 16 Abraham, Sarah, Hagar & Ishmael

V. Conclusion

* Grace Provides

* Hope Envisions

* Faith Lays Hold On

* Patience Reels It In

* We should possess by faith what grace has provided, nothing more, nothing less.