Monday, November 30, 2009

Good Ground


Mark 2 NKJV
1 ¶ And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.

Hear the Word of God:
God loves you so much that He sacrificed His only Son on the cross of Calvary to pay for your sins.

If you will believe on Jesus as God’s Son, Messiah to the Jews, and Savior of the World, you can be born again.

You can become a spiritual child of God today.

Ask God to forgive your sins and save your soul.

Personally accept the only payment God will accept for your sin.

Accept Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Lord and Friend.

Live a life that is pleasing to God and,

Tell others what you believe.

This is the Word of the God.

It will not change.

The Word of God to man is the same today as it was yesterday and will be forever.

However, there are 4 types of people who heard the Word of God I preached this morning. Which type are you?

Mark 4 NKJV
3 "Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.
4 "And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it.
5 "Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth.
6 "But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away.
7 "And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
8 "But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

When they were alone, those close to Jesus along with the twelve disciples, asked Jesus about this parable. So Jesus explains:

Mark 4
14 "The sower sows the word.
15 "And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When They hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 "These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 "and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
18 "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
19 "and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
20 "But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

#1 – Wayside

Are you on the wayside this morning? Are you hearing but not truly listening, never really opening your heart to receive the Word? Do you place any value on the Word of God you hear today or will you discard it like so much trash. Will you leave church today without being affected one way or the other, robbed of the Words of Life because they hold no value. Are you going to let the devil take God’s Word away from you again?

#2 – Stony Ground

Those of you who are stony ground types this morning really did listen to the Word and gladly received it. What was said made you happy and gave you hope for your future. However, your history reveals that most likely the Word only has surface access to your life and when you leave here you will spend no further time or investment in the Word God brought to you this morning. As a result, all of your hope and gladness will be turned to sadness and loss at the first temptation you encounter. Why, because you are attempting to produce fruit without sufficient root. The Word of God is first meant to go down, below the surface of our life, into our heart and begin changing our life from the inside out, not the outside in. God wants to work in you and on you before He works for you and through you.

#3 – Among Thorns

This group of people seem like they are really going to make it, but they just never quite measure up. They hear the Word, and no doubt mean well, but they allow so many things in their life to compete with the Word. They get busy with good stuff, or become focused on making money, or get bored with what they have, and all of the sudden … the Word which God gave to them gets choked out, suffocates, and their life becomes unfruitful in Kingdom matters. It is not that God does not have a plan and purpose for their life, but rather that they just can’t seem to stay focused and on track. At any rate, these among thorns types end up with no fruit from the Word they heard.

#4 – Good Ground

This type of person is in the majority of the Church. These people represent the normal Christian experience. Jesus said:

"But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

We should all strive to be good ground upon which the seeds of God’s Word can be sown.

· Hear the Word of God this morning

· Accept it as a Word from God

· Cultivate the Word and Care for it like precious seeds from heaven

· Keep it watered and weeded and it will continue to grow and produce greater fruit for many seasons to come

Ok, maybe some of you weren’t ready when I sowed the seeds of the Word of God earlier. Let me go back over it again so you can have another chance to be good ground.

You decide what you want to be.

The truth is that we get to decide what type of ground we will be. I know what I am talking about, believe me … I sat in church for years hearing the Word of God preached without it affecting me. I had two children and seven years of marriage under my belt before I surrendered to the Lord and His call on my life. The decision to start listening & applying the Word to my life, was mine …

Take just a moment right now to decide what type of ground you are going to be today. Are you ready? Ok, let me sow the seeds of God’s Word one more time --- here goes:

Hear the Word of God:

God loves you so much that He sacrificed His only Son on the cross of Calvary to pay for your sins.

If you will believe on Jesus as God’s Son, Messiah to the Jews, and Savior of the World, you can be born again.

You can become a spiritual child of God today.

Ask God to forgive your sins and save your soul.

Personally accept the only payment God will accept for your sin.

Accept Jesus as Messiah, Savior, Lord and Friend.

Live a life that is pleasing to God and,

Tell others what you believe.

This is the Word of the God. What type of ground are you?



After the winter of 1620 killed approximately one half of the pilgrims who lived in and around Plymouth, Mass., the surviving colonist formed a relationship with the neighboring Wampanoag Tribe of Native American Indians, who taught them how to survive by fishing, planting and hunting. By the autumn of 1621 the Pilgrims had collected and preserved enough food to last them through the next winter.

In the fall of 1621 Governor William Bradford declared a time of Thanksgiving. The Indians and the Pilgrims joined together for a 3 day celebration in honor of their bountiful harvest. The Wampanoag’s supplied the venison while the colonist provided wild birds, most likely including roast turkey, goose and swan, along with corn and lobster for the feast.

This is considered to have been the first thanksgiving in America. Year after year many other colonies concluded the harvest season with a festival in celebration and thanksgiving to God for His bountiful supply.

It was in 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, that the Continental Congress issued a proclamation that all 13 of America’s colonies set aside a day of thanksgiving in celebration of their recent victory over the British at Saratoga. In 1789 George Washington declared the first national day of Thanksgiving.

By the mid 19th century many states celebrated an annual day of thanksgiving but the dates varied by weeks or months. With the threat of civil war bearing down upon our nation’s people, a young lady named Sarah J. Hale set about on a one woman letter writing campaign, urging politicians to establish an annual national day of thanksgiving which she passionately believed would help unite our great nation.

Hale’s efforts were finally rewarded by Abraham Lincoln. In 1863 President Lincoln signed a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November as our nation’s annual Thanksgiving Day. The rest is history … as will be the approximate 675 million pounds of turkey which will be consumed on Thanksgiving Day this year in the US, tomorrow.

Well, where does God fit into all of this? To whom do we imagine those pilgrims, the 13 colonies, George Washington, Sarah Hale, President Lincoln or Americans tomorrow are giving their thanks to? Of course … it is to our Heavenly Father, the One True and Living God who gives us the harvest in its season.

Thanksgiving Day, however, is not an American phenomenon, nor were our politicians the first to declare such a celebration. We read from historical accounts that people have been joining together to thank God for His blessings on their harvest for thousands of years before Mayflower ever set sail toward the Americas. Returning thanks has been both an honor and a duty ever since mankind was created and placed in the Garden of Eden by the hand of God.

The Word of God instructs us to be thankful, not only for the evident blessings we enjoy, but for everything in life. Let’s read:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I am not suggesting that everything which happens to a person is the will of God … that is not what this scripture indicates. However, the Word admonishes us herein that it is the will of God that we give thanks to God in the midst of everything that happens. We can be thankful that we have such a loving and caring God who, in the greatest moments of our grief and loss, will never leave us nor forsake us, but He will bring us through.

The life of a believer is not the easiest life, in fact many times I suppose it to be the hardest of all lives. Certainly we are rewarded and have the help and comfort of the Holy Spirit, our faith, and the hope of eternal life … however – we must often deny ourselves the luxury unbelievers might enjoy as they seem free to hate, not forgive, be bitter, resentful, blame God or refuse to be comforted.

Even though the life of a believer demands we reign in our emotions and curb our angers, I still chose to believe and to be thankful. I have seen the life without thanksgiving towards God and I would not trade one for the other. My bitter moments are sweeter than the sweetest life without the hope of Christ.

However, thanksgiving is but one of the believer’s duties. Let’s look at this scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5 in context – going back to verse 16:

1 Thessalonians 5
16 ¶ Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies.
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.

As we in America spend time with our families tomorrow, and those in other parts of the world remember the Apostle Paul’s admonitions from 1 Thessalonians 5, let us harness ourselves to be truly thankful. Thankful for what God has blessed us with and thankful that we have such a loving Father.

Let us pray!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

From The First Day


According to historical records, it was the year 606/605BC, during the first year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, that he defeated Pharaoh Necho of Egypt at the battle of Carchemish, (kar ke mish), a city situated on the banks of the Euphrates River about 250 miles north of Damascus on what is now the border between Turkey and Syria.

This battle of Carchemish signaled the end of the once formidable Egyptian and Assyrian Empires and established Babylon as the uncontested power of the Middle East, with young King Nebuchadnezzar as its ruler.

The prophet Jeremiah prophesied concerning this event in Jeremiah 25:1-14. He said:

Jeremiah 25 NKJV
4 And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. 8 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not heard My words,
9 behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them …

11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Well – after the battle of Carchemish, King Nebuchadnezzar turned his attentions, as prophesied on Jerusalem. We pick up on this story in:

Daniel 1 NKJV
1 ¶ In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles,
4 young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king.
6 Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
7 To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

Listen carefully to the next verse, verse 8, it begins:

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself …

I love this … Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with what the world had to offer, what riches could buy, what fame could afford, or with what position could profit him … this young man purposed to keep his heart right, his motives pure, his conscious clear.

Never underestimate a person committed to a purpose.

Daniel is one of our greatest examples of a person committed to God’s purpose for their life. Depending on which scholar you accept, Daniel was between 12 and 17 years old in 606BC, when he made this commitment, after he was taken captive to Babylon. We know from his own accounts that he served the Kings of Babylon all the way through King Cyrus, who issued a decree to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem 70 years later - 536BC.

This simple chronology shows Daniel to be between 84 and 89 years old when he had his last recorded vision in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, 534BC, as evidenced from Daniel 10-12. Let’s read:

Daniel 10 NKJV
1 ¶ In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.
3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Now here is an 85 year old man who has dedicated himself to fasting and prayer, and he has been doing this now for 21 days.

7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Why did only Daniel see the vision? Perhaps it was because only Daniel had committed himself to seek the Lord with fasting and prayer.

8 Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.
9 Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.

Daniel 10

12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”

From all of the accounts of Daniel’s life: his captivity, his visions, the interpretation of dreams, his night in the lion’s den and his place in the “faith hall of fame” recorded in Hebrews the 11th chapter, we learn two great lessons – One truth about God and one truth about man.

1. God hears the first time you pray.

Although it may sometimes seem like God did not hear you or is not responding to your prayers, nothing could be farther from the truth. The enemies of God’s will may try to discourage you or attempt to stop the hand of God, but keep on praying … help is on the way!

2. Nothing can stop a person whose heart is filled with the purpose of God.

Don’t waste your life climbing a ladder only to reach the top and realize late in life that it was leaning against the wrong building. Money, power, or position cannot buy what your heart longs for. Set your heart on obtaining and maintaining a living relationship with God through His Son, Jesus the Messiah.

How long has it been since you have awakened early in the morning hours or tarried all night long in the presence of the Lord? Jeremiah 33:3 says that if we will call upon Him, He will answer us and show us great and mighty things you did not know.

Do you know Him today?
Do you know His purpose for your life?
Have you set your heart to not be defiled by what this world has to offer?

He is waiting right now to hear from you … to accept your commitment.

Won’t you stand and humble yourself before the Lord while we pray.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Blessing


It is my hope that after hearing today’s message you will never under estimate the power of a blessing.

In Genesis 12, when God chose Abraham to be His covenant partner, this is what God said to him:

Genesis 12
2 “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

God not only intended to bless Abraham but He also intended that Abraham be a blessing to others.

Before Abraham died he blessed his son Isaac and gave him all he had.

When Isaac was old, his son Jacob stood before him and received a blessing. Both heaven and earth honored that blessing for the rest of Jacob’s life and even until this present time.

Jacob followed the example by calling his 12 sons to his bedside before he died and there he spoke a blessing over each one of them, passing the covenant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on through Joseph.

From Melchizedek, who blessed Abram in Genesis 14, to Simeon and Anna’s blessings of Jesus in Luke the second chapter, stories from the Bible show example after example of men and women of faith who spoke blessings over people’s lives. These Bible stories help us to understand the pattern of, and the importance of, the blessings we speak, not only over people, but also over other things as well. Such as the passage referred to in:

James 4
1 ¶ Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

There is power in what we believe and the words we speak in faith, even over the food we eat. We have the power to bless, to curse, or to let nature run its course … this is why God tells us:

Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Remember what God said to Abraham? Not only will I bless you and make you a blessing but:

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

The words people say have the power to bless and the power to curse. Without God’s intervention, there is no telling what curses might come your way because of what others have said about you, your life, your family and your future.

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me, Says the LORD.

But what about those words or judgment or condemnation or cursing which others speak against us which we do not hear? That is where we trust God to intervene on our behalf, even without us knowing about it.

Is it also possible that God sometimes intervenes on behalf of others because we have spoken ill over things pertaining to them and their future? – Words we speak which do not agree with the will of God or what God desires to happen to them. Hmmm … that puts it in a little different perspective huh? Let’s develop this thought for a moment.

James 3 NKJV
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

This should not happen … but you, I, and James, the pastor of the first church in Jerusalem, all know it happens anyway. Believe me when I encourage you from the Word of God to watch what you say. Because what you say makes a difference.

Proverbs 18:21 ¶ Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If words work for salvation, words will work for everything.

Remember, there are three things we can do with what we believe:

1. Bless
2. Curse
3. Let Nature Take Its Course

We are admonished by the Lord to not curse others, even those who persecute us. But what about just being quiet and letting nature take its course? After all, we know the word says people will reap what they sow … won’t that just fix them and serve them right?

With Jesus as both our Lord and our Example, we should look to Him and do our best to follow what He did.

Remember those who nailed Jesus to the cross? Well, did Jesus bless them, curse them, or just let nature and the law of life take its course? What do you think? Let’s see …

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

Jesus blessed them! The Apostle Paul also encourages us in:

Romans 12 NKJV
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.

Ok, so God will get them through the law of life if we just keep silent so we can just let nature take its course … nope … not the Word. The Holy Spirit is not through with this thought … next scripture please …

20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

We are called to be active, not passive. God is not interested in people getting what they deserve, He wants them to get more of Him!

Coals of fire are not meant here as a curse, but rather a blessing. This picture is two-fold. It is the picture of lending fire and warmth to a neighbor in need who then carries it back home, across the desert, on top of his head, being warmed from it and in turn, thankful for it.

It is also the picture of the purification process in which the fire separates the dross from the silver so that the dross rises and is removed while the precious metals of kindness, goodness, and truth flow down, purifying the mind of your enemy in this case and making him think sensibly so to convict his soul and change his life. In both pictures we see the next scripture in that passage confirmed.

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If we should neither curse our enemy nor allow the law of life to take its natural course when we are persecuted, how much more should we be conscious to bless those we love and cherish who have disappointed us?

We must take the time to bless our family, our friends, our community, our workplace, our schools, our food, and our lives with faith filled words. Words do make a difference and blessings do come true.

You can overcome evil with good … it is the way of our Lord! – People blessing people.

God told Aaron the High Priest to stand and bless His children. Let’s read that blessing from:

Numbers 6
23 This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
24 The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

So I say to you today: Be blessed today and be careful to speak a blessing on others you meet this coming week, especially your family, your friends, and your food!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Potter & Clay 3


Jeremiah 18 NKJV
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying:
2 "Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words."
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.

The process of making a vessel out of clay can be broken down into five basic steps. Each step is prerequisite to the next step being successful.

1. Obtaining the clay
2. Preparing the clay
3. Centering the clay on the wheel
4. Shaping
5. Firing

In Jeremiah’s day pottery making was a common and valuable skill. In the much closer knit society where each individual is mutually dependent and closely related to each other and the common trades which were necessary to sustain life, everyone was somewhat familiar with the work of the potter.

When God sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house, God intended to draw some distinct parallels between the potter’s process of making vessels of clay and the process God employs in making human vessels to carry out His will. Of course, we are the clay in this narrative.

Tonight we are going to take a practical look at a spiritual principle in which we will discover the necessity of the clay being centered on the wheel.

Once the clay is brought up out of the miry pit and washed, tread upon and softened, it is then placed upon the potter’s wheel.

Psalms 40:2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my goings.

The Hebrew word translated “established” in this verse is pronounced, “koon”. In its greater definition is means: fixed; ordered; directed; determined; made ready, or restored.

There is a pre-ordained reason why the softened clay is immediately placed upon a rock, which rock, in our case is Christ. Our great Potter which is our God, has already determined, already ordered, fixed in His mind what He wishes to make of me and the path I should walk.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 ¶ A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

Suffice it to say that it is God who establishes our goings. Even though we may ponder our path, the Lord directs our steps.

On now to the wheel …

The potter’s wheel in Jeremiah’s time most likely consisted of two stones, a lower thick round flat stone that was larger and heavier connected by a wooden shaft to a smaller, less weighty round stone, also with a flat top, which the potter used as a working surface for the clay. The potter turns the heavier bottom stone with his foot thus driving the top wheel in circles, turning it at just the right speed for the potter to accomplish his work.

It is upon this top wheel the potter places his prepared clay. Thus far the potter has taken the clay out of the pit, prepared it, placed it on the rock, and has now established its goings.

After the potter places this lump, this glob of clay on the wheel and sets it to spin, he places his hands on the clay, not to shape the clay, but to center it. At first the clay fights with the potter’s hands, as you can imagine, uncentered on the rock, each time it comes around to the potter’s hands it finds resistance.

Like clay, we cannot center ourselves, but must allow the pressure of the hand of God, firmly positioned, lovingly consistent, to center us on the rock, which is Christ Jesus. It is not enough to be on the Rock, we must be centered on the Rock in order to ever become what God sees potential in us.

Have you ever known someone whom you considered to be eccentric? What in the world does eccentric mean anyway? It basically means to be off center; away from the center or the axis; to have an elliptical pattern of life instead of a circular revolution. Everyone is born into this world off center, eccentric, and needs to become centered on the Rock under the loving hand of God.

Many people are centered on many things, mostly themselves … this is called egocentric or self centered. This leads people to live life as though it was all about them. To quote Pastor Leonard Gardner, upon whose writings I have heavily drawn, “Simply being religious or going to church isn’t enough because even religious people can get centered on doctrines, preachers, churches, ministries, messages, or gifts.”

The potter cannot begin his work to form the vessel until the clay gets centered. If he tried to shape the vessel before the clay was centered it would result in aspect of the vessel being too thin while others too thick. The result of the thick side pressing upon the thin side with its weight and mass, during the drying process the vessel would crack under the stress. Again, Pastor Gardner referred to these vessels as “crackpots” – one who refused to be centered on the Jesus but is determined that they are just as usable as any other vessel God has made.

How does the potter get the clay centered on the wheel? There are no markings on the surface since every lump of clay is of a different size, weight, consistency and purpose … what does the potter do?

First he speeds up the wheel and places his hands as guides at borders which are acceptable to him and best for the vessel which he envisions in the clay. After making sure there is enough water on the clay to keep it soft and moldable without getting too sloppy to change form, the potter keeps his hands on the clay until it is centered.

How does the potter know when the clay is centered? When the clay no longer resist his hands but accepts the confines, the guidelines, the borders of the potter’s will. When the clay stops fighting the potter, the clay is centered.

Many people have been called, taken from the pit, prepared for shaping, but not for use. They find themselves living life on the wheel, never fulfilled, never complete, always turning, resistant to the hands of the potter which seem to be invasions, pressures, points and people of resistance to the eccentric life they live, always turning and coming back around to the same old thickness and thinness of their elliptical orbit on the rock.

True capacity is created only after a person becomes Christ centered and stops resisting the hands of God. Like clay, people can dry out on the wheel if they continually refuse to be moved. Or worse yet, they could spend life as a self centered, self made crack-pot, no one wants to use.

So, what’s the conclusion – don’t be eccentric by being self centered, ministry centered, or gifts centered, do be Christ centered, don’t become a crackpot, do yield to the loving pressure of God’s masterful hand, get centered on the Rock and let God begin to shape you and create in you what only He now sees.

Sunday, November 1, 2009



Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

To know what to do is important. We should know what to do, but we should also look beyond “what” and attempt to understand “why”.

Why is a natural question of life. Presently I am blessed to once again have young children in my house. Four of our seven grandchildren, along with our daughter, currently live with us while our son-in-law, who is a Captain in the US Army, completes his tour in Iraq.

One of my grandson’s name is Joshua, he is 4 years old and quite an inquisitive young man who loves to work alongside his granddaddy. I have noticed that he is going through a recognizable stage of child development. I call it the “why” stage. You probably know what I am talking about.

This is not the whiney, complaining, smart mouth, don’t want to do it, “why” question - But rather the real quest to understand “why”, question. Right now he sees almost everything from his own perspective and only how decisions affect him. It seems unimaginable to him that such a loving authority figure such as myself would ever make a decision that would disfavor what he sees would be best for him. Therefore he questions “why?”

This is a natural process of life and is necessary to healthy development. You see:

We are not raising children, we are raising adults … we just have them during their childhood years to accomplish the task.

Believe me, both God and man value the day when their children understand why we do what we do, instead of just having to be told what to do. Understanding why is a part of growing up, maturing and looking to the future.

While some are so busy living for the moment they neglect to prepare for the future, others are so focused on the future that they forget to live in the moment.

Some parents are so concerned about what their children may become that they don’t allow them to enjoy who they are, to grow along the natural paths of life and live the life they have while they still have it.

We should strive for excellence, but we should not wait until we get everything just like we want it before we enjoy life.

Don’t wait until you get everything you want before you enjoy what you already have.

Life should be lived, life should be enjoyed, and life should be productive, one day at a time.

If all of our efforts do not produce lasting results … what real advances have we made?

Life is a process, a journey, a road upon which every person travels. Life is filled with both predictable and unpredictable adventures.

Most days the path of life is safe and easy to follow. However, without notice we can encounter sudden and dangerous curves. It is important that we stay alert and spend some time preparing for the future. Like children we should grow to understand why God wants us to do what He wants us to do. If we never understand “why” we do what we do, then we will forever be like children needing someone else to tell us what to do.

When we don’t understand why we are doing what we are doing, we often lack the passion to do it as it deserves to be done.

A short time ago we discussed five truths which we could use to balance our lives. These truths are simple yet they hold the keys to life as God intended.

This morning we are going to look deeper into these truths by asking the question, “Why?”

Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."

Truth number one:
1. It’s not good to be alone.

I do not mean it is not good to have some alone time. Everyone needs alone time. What I mean is that it is not good to live life in isolated solitude. This can happen even when we are surrounded by people, connected with others, playing on a team, functioning within a group … all the while alone, unknown and unknowing of others, closed off to meaningful relationships which stretch us, strengthen us, challenge us, change us, sharpen us and make us whole and complete.

Even if we have God in our lives … God never intended for His relationship with man to take the place of man’s relationship with man.

… But why?

Ecclesiastes 4
9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Why? Because it’s not always all about you. You might not be the person who needs warming or is being attacked or who has fallen down. You don’t just need friends, others need you to be a friend to them.

2. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

Ecclesiastes 3:13 Every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

1 Timothy 6:17 … God gives us richly all things to enjoy.

There are some common principles which will help everyone enjoy life.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 6:2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise:

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. (NKJV)

The Amplified Bible says:

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them. (Amplified)

The truth does not end there … it does not even begin there … what does the Amplified version say in the verse just previous to that one?

Colossians 3:18 ¶ Wives, be subject to your husbands , as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the Lord. (Amplified)

Why are these things so important? Because every person is tied to another person in some relationship of life. When we do not do our part in the relationship, it produces the same thing in others which would be produced in us if they did not do their part. Life is meant to be enjoyed so God put rules in place for us to follow with respect to others … not only so that we could enjoy our life, but so that others we are in relationship with could enjoy their lives as well.

You know how difficult it is to enjoy life when someone you are in relationship with will just not do their part? Imagine, that’s how others feel about you when you do not uphold your responsibilities. It is not enjoyable.

3. Life is designed to be lived one day at a time.

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Lamentations 3
22 Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Why is life designed to be lived one day at a time? Because, the only life we have is now! Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow a dream, neither can be lived, neither can be enjoyed unless we enjoy it now.

When we rob ourselves and others of the “now” power of life, we rob life altogether. God gives us fresh new chances at life each day, so must we also give others those chances despite yesterday. It is the kingdom way.

In God’s Kingdom We are never more than one day away from all that we need.

4. Life is work.

1 Timothy 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

It will take effort on your part to be godly. Ungodliness seems to come so easy, and is a common reaction to the pressures of life … godliness however requires strength of character and purpose. Life, at least a godly life, is work! Why?

Because there is an enemy who is roaming to and fro throughout all the earth seeking those whom he may devour and if you do not keep your guard up, keep your armor on, keep your sword sharp, you could be deceived, tricked, tripped up, taken captive and mess up life for you and the lives of a bunch of other folks.

Thinking it cannot happen to you is the first sign of deception.

This is why we read our Bibles, sing our praises, attend our churches, lift our petitions heavenward, say no to temptations and witness to others, and stay close to Jesus.

Peter’s admonition is still as necessary today as ever: Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, walks about as a roaring lion seeking those whom he may destroy … resist him steadfast in the faith!

Godliness will require work!

5. The future is an empty place unless you fill it.

God has designed the future to be what you make it, both in this life and in the life to come. If you desire corn, corn must be planted; if you desire wheat, wheat must be planted; if you desire kindness, seeds of kindness must be planted; if you desire to be loved, seeds of compassion must be planted; if you desire friends tomorrow, you must be friendly today.

What we do today engages us in the process of life and makes a difference in our tomorrows, not only for us, but also for others throughout the world.

What are you going to do today about your future and the future of others both in this life and the life to come? Ask yourself two questions - 1: What does God want me to do; 2: Why?

If you will ask yourself those two questions, you will find the answers, and they will motivate you to do the will of God with God’s purpose and God’s passion.