Saturday, October 29, 2011

Spring Break


Today is “Family” Sunday at Church On The Rock and we are taking this opportunity to enjoy worship and the Word with the whole family. Expecting our children to be in the service with us today and knowing the great teaching they are used to in our Nursery, Children’s and Pre-Teen church services each week, I thought it best to prepare my message with them in mind. I hope that all of you adults will stretch a bit higher today and get what you need from the sermon as well.

This morning’s message will have something in it for everyone so listen close and find the one thing God is speaking to you from His Word today. Are you ready? Let’s go …

Most likely every school child in the United States looks forward to March or April each year because that’s the time of the year for “Spring Break” and maybe even a short family vacation.

Well, did you know that Spring Break is not just an American phenomenon? Do you know that Spring Break is also a part of the Jewish culture and has been for thousands of years? That’s right, each spring schools let out and families take vacations together and many travel to the capital city of Jerusalem for a special celebration of a national holiday called Pessach. Pessach is the Hebrew word for Passover which is connected to the same holiday we celebrate each year at Easter.

This has been going on for a long time. In fact, 2000 years ago, when Jesus was a little boy in school, just like many of you boys and girls today, He would go on a Spring Break vacation with His family each year. Only His spring break vacation lasted a little longer than the one week that you get. His spring break lasted 3 or 4 weeks. Why so long? One reason is because in those days He and His family had to walk everywhere they went and camp out along the way … and then … when the vacation was over, they had to walk all the way back home again.

Do you know how far they had to walk for Spring Break vacation each year? From the city of Nazareth, where Jesus lived as a boy, to the capital city of Jerusalem. It was like walking from here all the way to the other side of Houston. Now, that’s a long walk on a dirt trail with no McDonald’s or Buckee’s along the way and, it’s a long walk back too.

Not only did Jesus make this journey with His parents when he was a little boy but He continued to take this spring break trip each and every year His whole life. The last time He took this vacation trip He was 33 years old and He went with 12 of His best friends whom He called His disciples.

By this time in Jesus’ life He was very famous. Everyone had heard how that He could turn water into wine, walk on water, heal the sick, raise the dead and make the wind obey His commands. Jesus was the most famous person in the entire nation and everyone wanted to see Him, talk to Him or just touch Him.

That year while Jesus and His friends were on their way to the celebration of the spring feast of Passover – Jesus was very busy talking to everybody He met, passed and traveled along with for that whole week. They all walked together from the Galilee through Jericho and on up to Jerusalem. The trip took almost a week and each night they camped along the trail.

One evening the disciples noticed several people bringing little children to Jesus hoping that Jesus would touch them and bless them. It appeared to the disciples that the children were a bother to Jesus. The disciples imagined that Jesus was tired from the long walk and the many conversations that day and so they began to scold those who brought the children and told them to leave Jesus alone so He could get some rest.

Mark 10

13 ¶ Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

15 "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

16 And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

This was not the first time that Jesus reached out to children. Two years earlier more than 5,000 people gathered on a hillside on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee to hear Jesus teach and to be healed by His touch. The day grew late and the people were hungry. Jesus desired to feed them all before sending them away. However, neither Jesus nor His disciples had any food to give the people.

When others did not know what to do a little boy came forward and offered the two small fish and five small pieces of bread he had to Jesus. Many adults could not imagine how this little bit would help. But, little is much in the hand of the Lord and the young lad saved the day by giving what he had to Jesus. This little boy was important to God’s plan.

John 6

9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

Not only did Jesus like children and include them in His plan, but we need to remember that Jesus was Himself once a child. Most of the New Testament tells about Jesus as either a little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, or as the teaching prophet Who healed the sick and walked on water as the grownup Son of God. However, in one passage of scripture God gives us a glimpse of Jesus and how He thought and how He acted when He was a young boy.

The story takes place on one of those “Spring Break” when Jesus was 12 years old. That year the family and friends all walked together from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Passover one again. Afterwards, when it was time for everyone to go back home and get back to work and school, Mary and Joseph left Jerusalem with their family and friends expecting Jesus to be tagging along with the group as always. When they had gone a day’s journey and began to make camp for the evening they started looking for Jesus and could not find Him … back to the city they went. After 3 days of searching they found Jesus in the Temple. Jesus told His mother that Church should have been the first place they looked for Him. Perhaps Church is still a good place to find Jesus! Let’s read the story in:

Luke 2

43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it;

44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances.

45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him.

46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.

48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously."

49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?"

50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

What do we learn from these stories about Jesus and the children in His life?

1. Jesus loved to go to Church

2. Children are important to Jesus

3. Jesus obeyed His parents

4. Jesus wants all of us to be more like children when it comes to faith

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spiritual Things Part 3 – Differences of Administrations Continued


1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.

Briefly re-cap from Parts 1 & 2 …

1 Corinthians 12

4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Tonight we continue our study of Spiritual Things by continuing discussing:

Verse 5: Differences of Administrations

· Administrations – Greek word Diakonia

· Ministries – Services – Administration of an Office

We discovered these differences of administrations were referred to once again by the Apostle Paul a little later in chapter 12.

1 Corinthians 12

28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The Five Fold Ministry

Ephesians 4

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Last week we talked about these were gifts given to the church. This evening we are continuing by taking a look at some additional ministries which God placed in the church to assist in administrating spiritual matters. In addition to the five-fold ministries, two other service ministries are:

Bishops and Deacons

1 Timothy 3

1 ¶ This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

8 ¶ Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

· By the same Lord

What about Elders?

The Greek word translated Elder in the New Testament simply refers to an older, more mature man or woman in the faith. There are many elders in the church which should be treated with respect and honor, as mothers and fathers in the faith. However, once an elder is recognized and ordained to an officially recognized position of ministry, they become an overseer of that duty or responsibility and an officer of the church assisting to administrate the spiritual things of the church.

I draw this principle from several references in the word but for brevity sake and time considerations will offer in support the passage from:

Titus 1

5 ¶ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

6 ¶ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

An ordained Elder is therefore ordained into the Bishopric (office or overseer ship) of a Bishop (overseer). A Bishop is the curator, guardian and superintendant of the ministry or administration to which he is over placed.

Continuing with our study of Spiritual Things we find:

1 Corinthians 12

6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

Verse 6: Diversities of Operations

· Operations – Greek word Energema

· Workings;

· Both the Energy and the Energizing Effect

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God operates differently in different people … as he wills. For to Peter God gave the ministry to the Jews and to Paul the ministry to the Gentiles. One God calls here and another there … One He gifts one way another a different way. God moves in various ways to perform His will which no other person can orchestrate. God is both the author and the finisher.

This is further explained by Paul as he begins to describe the body of Christ. God operates everything according to His desired affect … in other words, God has put all things together on purpose for purpose – a plan!

One Body – A Many-Membered Body

Not merely a multi-membered body, but many separate members joined together as one body. And, might I add here – joined together by that which every joint supplies in accordance with:

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1 Corinthians 12

12 ¶ For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Everything spiritual operates by God for His Divine purpose. We are what we have made ourselves from what God gave us. We all possess Divine strengths, weaknesses, limitations and capacities, according to God’s purpose which He designed in us before time began. We were created on purpose for purpose … His purpose.

Only when we are joined together in the Body of Christ, using the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit doing the work of God as He purposed can we completely fulfill the plan of God and be fulfilled in God’s plan. However, God did not just leave His plan at our mercy … He reserves the right to work through us without our permission.

God does not first have to seek our permission before He uses us for His purposes. This is a Spiritual Thing and we need not be ignorant of the fact the God can and does use even a donkey … He uses whom He wills. Perhaps this spiritual truth is best revealed in:

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Verse 7: The Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

· Manifestation – Greek word Phanerosis

· To illuminate or bring to light – to reveal – to make known

1 Corinthians 12

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Life is Spiritual and God has intended that we not be ignorant of Spiritual Things … how that He has gifted us, called us, equipped us, orchestrates all things to work together in different ways, and manifest Himself through us to a world which should see us as one body, fully functioning as many members, yet one body, working in unity and unison to accomplish the purposes of God, each part set in by God to the place of His will, joined in the Spirit, appreciative and respectful of every other part, seeing each and every one as needed and necessary for the body to be complete and whole, under the Lordship of Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit.

We are spiritual beings with spiritual gifts, subject to the operation of God and capable of being used by Him even without our permission. Yet, God wants us to understand these spiritual things so that we might have greater opportunity to be greater used for His greater plan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Cry?


Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

Tell the story of the children of Israel in bondage to an evil ruler, Pharaoh of Egypt. They were nothing more than slaves. It did not begin like that but through the process of time rulers came to power who did not regard the Jews as blessed or even as equals but rather as the labor for the state. It was no longer what was best for the people but what was best for the government.

The children of Israel need delivering and as has always been God’s M.O., He raised up a deliverer, Moses, one from among their brethren. Through a series of divinely orchestrated events God prepared Moses for his destiny.

Ecclesiastes 3

1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;

3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;

7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;

8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

A time to keep silence, And a time to speak

There is a time to stand still and a time to go forward

Many times …

While we are waiting on a move of God, God is waiting on a move of people.

It was this way when God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt by the hand of Moses. They began their exodus and immediately found themselves in a difficult situation.

Moses and the children of Israel found themselves facing Pharaoh’s army with their backs to the Red Sea. When all seemed lost the people began to be afraid. They murmured and complained and then Moses spoke to the people and said, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”

Exodus 14

10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.

11 Then they said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?

12 "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ’Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness."

13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

14 "The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

15 And the LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me?” Tell the children of Israel to go forward.

16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

God spoke to Moses and said, “Why are you crying to Me? You, Moses, you lift up your rod and the children of Israel will go forward …”

The truth is God had already done all He intended to do … He had given Moses both the position and the power to lead and if Moses did not do something, then nothing would get done. God’s did His part … He positioned someone with the power to lead. Today is no different!

This is not the time in the history of our nation for the Church of the Living God to stand still, keep silent or wait on God to do something. This is the time to get up, speak up and go forward.

Both heaven and earth choose aggressive, decisive and determined individuals to lead the defining battles of life.

It’s not enough for our leaders to take a stand or to tell us to take a stand in these days … We need leaders who will lead – boldly take us forward …

It’s a time to speak up, not shut up …

It’s a time to go forward, not go along …

The Church has been told to keep silent too long. I believe in miracles but I know that: God demands that we participate in our miracles.

Perhaps one of the greatest miracles of our day would be for God to bless our city, our county, our state and our nation with godly, moral, sane and unselfish political leaders who actually represent the people that elected them. But … that miracle will never be a reality without you doing something about it.

You, each one of you, are positioned and empowered by God to make a difference. You are the real leaders in America … you have the vote!

Stand still or keep silent, thinking you are waiting on God, and you’ll die …

Esther 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?"

How can we speak up … How can we go forward? God gives everyone one thing … the same thing … Opportunity!


God has a plan, He will succeed and we have a chance to participate.

Potential is just potential and each opportunity God gives us is a chance to reach our potential.

What opportunities do we have? (Spiritual – Political)

There is a time to keep silent and a time to speak … what time do you think it is in our great nation?

Why cry to God when He has already given us everything we need.