Monday, October 30, 2017

Family Sunday


1Peter 4  (New Living Translation)
7 ¶  The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.
8  Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
9  Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
10  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
11  Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fruits of the Spirit Series – Part 6 Goodness


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

  1. Love 
  1. Joy 
  1. Peace 
  1. Longsuffering 
  1. Gentleness 

This evening we will be taking a closer look the fruit of the Spirit God callsGoodness. God is good … all the time! Good will always win over evil. 

There was a time when cell phones, iPads and personal computers didn’t exist; Record players were how we listened to music and all three television channels went off the air by midnight. We all longed for Saturday mornings when we got the chance to watch cartoons and the afternoons which were filled with our favorite heroes: Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Dick Traci and one of my all-time favorites, Gene Autry. 

My maternal grandmother was an Autry and a cousin to Gene. She and Gene were born around the same time and she enjoyed telling us kids that we were kin. Gene Autry is the only person to be awarded stars in all five categories on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for film, television, music, radio, and live performance. He was also awarded the very first certified Gold Record, “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine”. 

So, Saturday TV was a weekly treat with great expectations that the good guys would always win over the bad guys. Each “good guy” hero had his own following. There were clubs you could join, secret decoding rings you could send away for and the good guys always had a code you had to uphold. Gene Autry published his code. He called it 

The Cowboy Code or sometimes called: The Ten Cowboy Commandments 

  1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 
  1. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 
  1. He must always tell the truth. 
  1. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals. 
  1. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 
  1. He must help people in distress. 
  1. He must be a good worker. 
  1. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits. 
  1. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws. 
  1. The Cowboy is a patriot. 

Good guys and Bad guys --- The way we know the difference is not because they wear different colored hats, anybody can change hats … the way we know the difference is because of their hearts. Jesus said: 

Matthew 7 
15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 
16  “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 
17  “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 
18  “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 
19  “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 
20  “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” 

The fruit of the Spirit God calls “Goodness” boils down to what we know as a person’s Character. Goodness = Character  > Solomon said a good name is better than riches.  

Although Righteousness is ultimately measured by who we are, goodness is measured by what we do. Who we are when no one else is watching? Are we honest, faithful, giving, caring, merciful, upright and true?  

Ephesians 5: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Perfect Timing


One night in about the year AD 50, the Apostle Paul was trying to decide which direction he should take from the city of Troas. Then, in a vision during the night, Paul saw a man in Macedonia saying, “Come over and help us!”. When Paul woke up, he Silas secured passage on a ship and sailed directly across the Aegean Sea to the port city of Philippi.

Once there they were put in jail for causing some trouble concerning the casting out of a devil from a woman who told fortunes. After being let out of jail they were asked to leave the city they began walking through Macedonia, (Northern Greece today). Eventually Paul and his companions arrived in the city of Thessalonica. Thessalonica was a very prosperous and influential city within that part of the Roman Empire.

As was the Apostle Paul’s custom, he first went to the Jewish Synagogue and began to tell fellow Jewish leaders that the Messiah had come and that His name is Jesus. Paul used the Old Testament to insure each claim was supported by the Holy Scriptures. Many people believed but some did not. Those who did not believe began to make trouble for Paul. Let’s read:

Acts 17
4  And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
5  But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
6  But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.
7  “Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king — Jesus.”

That night those who had believed in Jesus as Messiah and had become disciples of the Apostle Paul in Thessalonica helped him to leave the city in the cover of darkness and make his way to the city of Berea. Once there Paul went to the Synagogue in Berea and began sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Jews who were there. Again, he was forced to leave …

About a year and a half later, somewhere in the year AD52 it seems, Paul had made his way to the southern part of Greece to the city of Corinth. It was most likely at the city of Corinth where Paul sat to write his very first Epistle. His decision to write to the Believers in the Church at Thessalonica gives this book a primary place in Church history and in our hearts. It looks like his few weeks of witnessing in Thessalonica really paid off. He begins:

1 Thessalonians 1
1 ¶  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 ¶  We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,
3  remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
4  knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.

1.   Work of faith – (Work = that which occupies your time)
2.   Labor of love – (Labor = intense toil that can be strenuous and long)
3.   Patience of hope – (Patience = constant & unwavering perseverance)

Faith, love and hope are the three keys to becoming a successful Christian. The Church in Thessalonica had barely gotten off the ground, received little instruction, and endured great persecution however they grew to become what many early Christian fathers believe to be the model Church. Having started with some Jews, several devout Greek converts to Judaism and a few rich women, the Thessalonian Church ended up including people from all walks of life who were committed to the spread of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ. They were each one perfect for their time and that place.

Paul was bold about his belief that the Believers in the Thessalonian Church were called and chosen by God for such a time as was at hand.

Here are a few things I know as well:
1.   Faith requires work
2.   Love requires labor  
3.   Hope requires patience

4.   Each one of us is chosen and prepared for a perfect time and place.