Sunday, December 30, 2018

Where Did It Fall?


2 Kings 6  NKJV
1 ¶  And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us.
2  “Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” So he answered, “Go.”
3  Then one said, “Please consent to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.”
4  So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.
5  But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax headfell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.”
6  So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float.
7  Therefore he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

Elisha is considered to be the leading prophet of his time and as such is a representative of Almighty God. Today we can use this story as more than a historical record … remember, Bible stories are roadmaps for us to follow.

Three things we can take home with us and our families today which will help us stay on course andfinish the year strong.

1. Exercise and resistance serve to strengthen us more than rest and relaxation.
a. These were difficult times for the Children of Israel under the idolatrous King Jehoram.
b. Yet, the school of the prophets had increased in numbers sufficient to be in great need of expansion.  
c. However, as Exodus 1:12 says … 

Exodus 1:12  But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew … 

d. When things get tough – you get tougher. God is not making things difficult, in fact, He is the One Who created the law of resistance and exercise. 
e. God will not allow His enemies to defeat you.

2. God will often work with you where He will not work without you.
a. These men didn’t just sit around looking at the problem … they got a plan.
b. Anyone can curse the darkness – the wise light a lamp.
c. They took initiative. 
d. It’s harder for God to get people stepping than it is for Him to direct their steps.
e. While people are waiting on a move of God, God is waiting on a move of people.

2 Corinthians 8:12  For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

f. A willing worker will find His plans blessed by the Lord.

3. Stay Sharp
a. Don’t get so busy working that you lose what it takes to do the work. 
b. We must pay attention to what it takes to doand get what we want to have and keep.
c. This man was working hard doing what he believed in and didn’t notice that he was losing his edge. 
d. The prophet asked him, “Where did it fall?”
e. You will normally find it in the same place you lost it.

Ecclesiastes 10:10  If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

Don’t loose your edge … if you do … Tell God where you lost it, He will apply the cross, but you’ll have to pick it up for yourself.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

You’re Dismissed


I just want to say one thing before we get started with the word today: In case of an emergency - Put your mask on first before trying to help someone else with theirs. Take care of yourself … you can worry about others later. (David encouraged himself in the Lord …)

This morning we are going to take a fresh look at twofamiliar passages of scripture traditionally read in Churches during the Christmas season. I want you to know that I believe in Christmas. Christmas is a special time of the year in which we celebrate God sending His Son, Jesus, into the world as the promised Messiah. 

Christmas = Christ-mas:
• As you know, Christ is not Jesus’s last name, rather it is His title. It is the Greek rendering of the term applied to the Messiah.
• The mas in Christmas is derived from the late Latin word, “missa” which means “dismissal”. I
It is used in the concluding formula of the Latin Mass to encourage people to “Go – It is the dismissal”.
The strict meaning of missa is dismissal while the Christianization of this term contains the direct connection as to why we are dismissed:We are dismissed To be sent on a mission
Hence, the “mas” in Christmas refers to being dismissed or sent to begin a mission.

Therefore, Christmas means the Day in which Jesus, the Christ, Messiah of the Jews and Savior of the World, was sent to earth to begin His mission … I believe that to be the day Mary said yes to God’s plan for her life.

God’s Word insures us that life begins at conception. This is neither a political nor a religious statement but merely a fact. Life is not determined by how intelligent or how self-sufficient a person may be. Life is life and I celebrate Christmas as the season in which God, by the sudden, miraculous, overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, responded to Mary’s faith and calling, and sent His Word to live in her. God brought His Word to life in Mary and we call it Christmas. Christ sent on a mission.

Today we will be reading from the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and from the 1st chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Let’s turn our attention first to Lukeand his inspired account of the first Christmas. While we read, take note of those special people whom God decided to include to bring about His plan and what we can learn today from them.

Luke 1
26 ¶  Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name wasMary.
28  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29  But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31  “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32  “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33  “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34  Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35  And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36  “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37  “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary is a saint … she was the first person to receive Jesus as the Son of God and the promised Savior of the world. Mary was the first true Evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She received Christ and she gave Him to the whole world.

Mary was sent on a mission with Christ … Mary made every day Christmas!

The greatest lesson I have learned from Mary’s life deals with having faith in the impossible. She confessed her trust in God by saying yes to the unknown. She didn’t know how but she trusted God.

Miracles begin to happen in our lives when we say yes to God.

God had a special mission for Mary and He has one for you as well.

The second person we will learn from today is Joseph. I find it interesting that we never hear Joseph say even one word in the Bible.

Matthew 1  NKJV
18  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20  But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21  "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
22  So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23  "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
24  Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,
25  and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

God chose Joseph, a common construction worker, to be the earthly image and play the role of father in the life of Jesus. I have long looked at Joseph as one of the unsung heroes of the Bible. So many times we overlook the critical part he played in the plan of God.He was also given a mission from God.

Although Joseph words aren’t recorded anywhere in the Bible, his silence speaks loudly. A simple survey of the passage in Matthew 1 reveals 4 evident reasons why Joseph was chosen for this special mission. As we look at his life, imagine yourself in his shoes. What can we learn from Joseph’s life today?

1. Joseph was connected to someone who was connected to God … 
a. Matthew 1:18&19 tell us that Joseph was engaged to Mary and was her husband.
b. Who we include in our inner circle can help us or hurt us
c. The three ladies who married Noah’s sons were saved from the flood and given a great mission from God simply and only because of who they married.
d. Our success in life may depend on others more than we realize.
2. Joseph was a humble man
a. Matthew 1:19 says that Joseph did not react selfishly when he found out about Mary’s pregnancy but considered what he should do based on how his actions would affect her.
b. Joseph did not react out of haste or hurt; he was not rash, nor did he take advantage of the situation to vindicate himself.
c. Joseph didn’t let his pride get the best of him … rather he humbled himself and gave his best to God and to Mary. 
3. Joseph embraced the supernatural
a. Matthew 1:20-23 reveal how Joseph believed in and accepted both the messenger and the message from heaven.
b. One Word from God changes everything … at least it does for those who will receive it …
c. Some things can only be explained in light of the supernatural plan of God.
d. In his critical moment Joseph embraced the Word of the Lord as divine direction for his life.
e. When God could do no better, God sent His Word … to Mary; to Joseph; and to the world!
4. Joseph was unafraid to go against popular opinion
a. Matthew 1:24&25 show us that Joseph obeyed God instead of just going with the flow or pleasing the crowd.
b. Reckon what all those “wagging tongues” are going to say come judgment day? Think they’ll still be making fun of Joe?
c. Actions most often speak louder than words and Joseph’s silence still speaks today … what do his choices say to you? 

Both Mary and Joseph were chosen to bring about the plan of God for the day of Christ. Both of them were essential to Christmas being all god planned. You and I have the same opportunity that was given Mary and Joseph. We have an opportunity to:
• Say yes to the Word of God
• Receive Jesus in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit
• Give Him to a world that is lost and hurting

Remember the end of Church service is the most important part. It is the part where you’re dismissed to go on your next mission. 

Are you ready for your next Christmas mission? It’s ready for you. Trust God and realize it may not be all about you so stay humble, embrace the supernatural Word of the Lord and don’t be afraid to swim against the tide. 

Just like Mary received Christ and gave Him to the whole world, you can make every day Christmas.

Why bother? Because: Without a Savior, this world is the best place anyone will ever live.

Be the Christmas someone else needs today!

You’re dismissed! – Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Today’s Christmas Message


It is reasonable to believe that Jesus began His public ministry in the fall of the year, around the end of September or the first part of October, when He turned 30 years of age. At that time He went to be baptized by John in the Jordan River near Jericho.

After water baptism, Jesus immediately entered the wilderness of Judea which stretches from the Dead Sea near Jericho all the way south and westward across the barren foothills and desert lands to Jerusalem. Jesus was in the desert, fasting and praying for 40 days. After that time, Jesus was tempted by the devil and defeated every temptation with the Word of God. These 40 days plus the temptation period would have likely occurred in the months of October and November, making it early in December when Jesus returned to Nazareth and to His mother’s home.

His first Sabbath at home, probably early in December, Jesus entered into the synagogue at Nazareth where He was raised, and was asked to read from the scriptures. He found the passage in Isaiah 61 and read:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

Then Jesus closed the book and sat down, and all eyes were on Him and He said, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.”

Those who heard Him were immediately filled with anger and rage. They laid hands on Jesus and forced Him out of the synagogue and brought Him to the edge of the hill so that they might throw Him off the cliff. However, Jesus, passing through the midst of them, left the city and walked a day’s distance to the town of Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.

The following Sabbath, and for two or three weeks after, Jesus attended and taught in the synagogue which was in Capernaum. (Luke 4) It was during these days, perhaps near the end of December, Jesus began calling His first disciples. It’s here we pick up with today’s Christmas message.

The Gospel of John takes us back to the very beginning. John records Jesus calling His first disciple with the words:

Come and See

John 1 NKJV
Bear in mind, the lessons taught to us by Jesus in this account are fundamental to the spread of our Christian faith. Christianity is never more complex than the simple steps we find in this passage.

35  Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
36  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”

Note here, John the Baptist used his influence to point his friends to Jesus.

37 ¶  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

Notice that John’s friends were intrigued by his testimony and they decided they would investigate Jesus for themselves. People will still do this …

38  Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”

It is evident Jesus took note of their interest in Him. It’s the same truth taught by the account of the prodigal son. If a person turns towards home, God is always welcoming, encouraging and willing to listen.

39  He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).

Jesus shows us what most people need … Most people only need an invitation to “come and see.” Come and see for yourselves …

And, once a person sees the real Jesus and realizes that they are really welcomed and accepted by Him … it’s hard for them to leave.

40  One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41  He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

It is evident Andrew and Peter were more than mere biological brothers. They were friends and even chose to work alongside one another as fisherman. When Andrew found Christ, he went immediately to tell Peter what he had found. I imagine Andrew told Peter about the whole day.

42  And he brought him to Jesus.

The greatest opportunity anyone can give another person is to tell them where they can find Christ. Everyone is looking for Jesus …

·        You can influence others to come and see.
·        Simply tell someone what you found when you found Jesus.
·        It can begin with your family and spread to your friends, new acquaintances, and even to others you’ve never met in person.

We begin our walk with Christ as Believers in Him.
        We continue our walk with Christ as Followers of Him.
                We fulfill our walk with Christ as Witnesses for Him.

This is the Christmas Message for today …

Can you think of someone who would benefit from being in a Church service like this? Someone who may have lost their way, or someone unchurched, unhappy, or just in need of some answers in life? I’m going to challenge you today:

Don’t say no to Jesus for someone else. How could we ever do that? We say no for them when we decide that they would only say no if we ask them, and so we don’t ask. At least let them say no for themselves. However, most people won’t say no, most people will say yes … just like Andrew and Peter and Phillip and Nathaniel did in John chapter 1. All they needed was somebody to ask them to come and see.

Invite someone to Church in this special Christmas season. Tell them that you’ve found Christ and simply invite them to Come and see!

Sitting in the midst of the welcoming and loving Spirit of the Lord that’s in our Church and hearing the Word of God preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be exactly what they need to go back to their homes and invite their family and friends to “come and see”!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Called by God


Key Scriptures:
Ephesians 2
8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Today I have three messages concerning you being called by God:
The First Message: Called to Give
·        To encourage people to make giving to the Church a part of their life.

2 Corinthians 9
7  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
9  As it is written, "He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

Note: I love the thought that God is watching what I give to help His Church do the work of the Gospel. And, that He blesses me accordingly.

10  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Every person is given both bread and seeds … Bread is for us to eat … Seeds are for sowing …  Don’t eat the seeds!

Message Number Two: Called to Believe and Receive
·        To teach people what it takes to answer the call of God on their life.

Luke 1 ESV
26 ¶  In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
28  And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
29  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
30  And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. (God has chosen you, Mary. You are the one!)
31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
32  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
33  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
35  And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy —  the Son of God.
36  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
37  For nothing will be impossible with God."

·        Mary was the first person to ever believe Jesus was the Son of God.
·        She was the first person to receive Jesus by grace, through faith.
·        Mary’s acceptance of Jesus not only saved her soul but also saved her family and ultimately the whole world.
·        Mary answered the call of God by saying yes. She placed her trust in God concerning the things she did not understand and could not do.

Miracles begin when people say yes to God.

Message Number Three: Called to Follow Him
·        To encourage people and give them a chance to respond and answer the call of God on their lives today.

Luke 9:23  And He said to all, "If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Just say yes! Answer the call! How? - take a step of faith now … Some of you feel that God is adding you to this Church family … come and join now.