Saturday, June 29, 2019

Life Lessons 2019

Life Lessons 2019

Welcome to Family Sunday at COTR. For more than 30 years we have been planning and enjoying these occasional Sundays as a special time for the whole family to Worship and hear the Word together. As well, each 5th Sunday, which comes around once each quarter, is our opportunity to give our Children’s Workers a break so they can attend the main service with their families. 

We truly appreciate every one of our Children’s Sunday School, Scooterville and Children’s Church team members. They deserve our thanks for the wonderful ministry they provide to our children.

With all of the water baptisms we witnessed today and the great reports of last week’s VBA, it’s time to celebrate. 164 children asked Jesus into their hearts and they raised more than $3100 to complete a worthwhile project at our Children’s Home in India. God bless all the families who attended along with the 102 workers at this year’s Son Treasure Island VBA.

Now, let’s open our hearts to the word for this morning and see what truths God will share with us today. Perhaps one of these 5 Life Lessons will be something that will benefit you or your family this week. Life Lesson number one:

1. What you say will be said.
Luke 12: 3 "Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
• When we tell someone a secret, it may no longer be a secret. 
• For years I have taught that usually every one tells one. It is rare when they don’t.
• So, don’t be surprised when you hear someone has repeated what you said.
• This truth should make us be more cautious about the things we say.
• James 3:2 says, “If we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
• The Scriptures tell us that if a person offends and hurts others with their words their worship of God might be in vain.
• Solomon said the reason people are snared and entrapped is due to their unruly mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)
• God’s Word says its not what goes in but rather what comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. (Mark 7)
• Proverbs 18 reveals that death and life are in the power of the tongue.
• Jesus said He takes account of every word we speak and, “By our words we will be justified or by our words we will be condemned.”
• Evidently what we say is being recorded for playback someday …
• Don’t be surprised – What you say will be said!

2. What you do will be found out.
Luke 12:2 "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.”
It’s not just the bad stuff that gets found out, but also the good stuff. 

Matthew 6:4 “… your (Heavenly) Father who sees (your charitable deeds done) in secret will Himself reward you openly.”
• On the one hand the devil is trying to set you up to surprise you and show your friends and family how bad you are …
• While on the other hand God is trying to set you up to show everyone how wonderful and true and loving and kind and gracious and benevolent you are …
• Who are you going to work with?
• Remember – The power of sin is in the secret. Shine the light and the darkness will flee!
• But don’t be surprised – What you do will be found out.

3. What you believe will be tested.
Mark 4:17  But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

• Jesus told His disciples that the Word of God is like a seed and we are like God’s garden. When we hear the Word the devil comes immediately, like birds in the springtime, trying to steal the seed before it can take root in the ground. (Mark 4:15)
• Today, God is going to give you a special seed of His powerful Word. Just remember: When you leave here, you are headed for a test.
Pass the test!
It’s an open book test! For goodness sake … open the book!
And you can shout out to a friend.
Or call on the Teacher and He will give you the right answer.

4. What you compromise to keep you will lose.
Mark 8:35  “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

• We are not going to live without temptation.
• The same sins that ruled your old life will try to rule the new.
• There are no new temptations … they just come in nicer packages and look more attractive. Not new and improved, just repackaged.
• For what would you be willing to compromise your integrity?
➢ Love
➢ Sex
➢ Money
➢ Power
➢ Position
• We must establish principles before we encounter problems.

5. Nothing changes until something changes.

• Geographical cures don’t work.
• There is no greener grass. Life will be only as good as you make it.
• You may in need of a new life manager 
• May I recommend the Holy Spirit – He will help you manage you …
➢ Repent of your sin
➢ Renew your mind with the word.
➢ Recover yourself from that snare of the devil.

These 5 Lessons of Life are the truth and have been since creation. Teach them to your children and to your children’s children. 

• Make it a habit to always say good things about others … things you hope they hear. Not manipulation, just your heart. It will please God.
• Choose the high road and do things you’d be proud for everyone to know about. 
• Hold on to your faith concerning God and concerning others in whom you believe. Don’t let the devil rob you of the blessings which come from simple trust. If you find yourself disappointed in others … don’t let that experience color the rest of your life.
• Refuse to compromise your integrity for some short-term gains. And by the way, you are leaving here on your way to the next test!
• The outside won’t change what’s inside, but the inside can change the outside. Work on what is inside your life … work on you … your heart, your mind, your emotions, your thoughts, your hurts, your hopes and your relationship with reality.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Points To Ponder


Matthew 5 NKJV
46  “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
47  “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”
48  “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
·        Perfect = Full of integrity and virtue
·        Tax collectors? It sounds like people group are a bunch of lowlifes.
o   Why is Jesus dissing tax collectors?
o   And, bless Matthew’s heart … that’s what he was when Jesus called him to become a disciple. (Matthew 9:9)

It seems odd to me that Jesus would relegate a whole group of people to being sinners without integrity and void of virtue simply because of their job choices. Basically Jesus is saying, “Don’t be like those tax collectors, they are all selfish liars and cheats. They only love people who give them money and won’t even say hello to you unless you’re one of them.”

Tax collectors were considered notorious sinners who did not just volunteer for the job, but they often entered into a bidding war with their competitors to win the right to levy and collect taxes from their neighbors and fellow Jews. Their salaries came from the overage they charged, and they had the power to seize property and to bind those who could not pay in slavery or debtors prison.

This people group were hated, and it was against Jewish customs to allow a tax collector to even to participate in any civil proceedings because of the belief that tax collectors would seek the bribe instead of the truth.

Jesus often referred to tax collectors as sinners. He lumped them together. And then, Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to become one of His disciples. This shows us that no matter how a person is perceived or actually are, a face to face encounter with Jesus can change everything.

There is another famous tax collector in the New Testament who encountered Jesus and it changed his life. His name is Zacchaeus. You may remember the story of Zacchaeus climbing a sycamore tree in Jericho so he could see over the crowd when Jesus was coming into the city. We find this account in the book of Luke, chapter 19.

Luke  19 NKJV
1  Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
2  Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
3  And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
4  So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
5  And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
6  So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
7  But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8  Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
10  for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Over the past 40 years I have both coined and collected more than 750 points which epitomize principles found in the storied of the Bible. I call them my Points To Ponder. This morning I want to share 3 of these points with you which I believe God wants us to learn from the account of Zacchaeus.

136.  The account of your life will be written by the choices you now make for your future and not by the choices you have made in your past.
·        Bad decisions, wrong decisions and costly mistakes are a part of the process, not the problem.
·        186.  God is not stuck in your past.
·        What you are going through is not punishment for your past but positioning for your future.
·        254.  Our future does not depend on what we did yesterday, but on what we do today.
·        288.  There is always more potential in our future prospects than in our past accomplishments.
·        323.  Often it is not about what we did but rather about what we are doing about what we did.

142.  What we do with what we have shows who we are and what we believe.
·        God is willing to give to you what He can give through you.
·        205. Do not be deceived, a man is not willing to die for something he is unwilling to live for.
·        434.  Everything you want may cost you everything you have.
·        506.  God gives to people through people.
·        653. Don’t expect anyone to ever be any better than you are.

174.  You are writing the story that others will one day tell about you.
·        202.  The birth of a new future will put an end to the old past.
·        244.  It is less important where one is when he begins his journey than where he is when he finishes.
·        234.  Right now there are a bunch of nobodies God is preparing to be the next somebody He uses.

Zacchaeus was a nobody in history, just like all the other nobodies. He would have remained a nobody except for one decision: He turned his whole life over to Jesus. Today Zacchaeus is not remembered as the notorious sinner he was but rather for the example he is. How about you? You’re always one decision away from being someone’s hero. Don’t let your personal ambitions be the shadow you die in. Give your whole life to Jesus.

Food for Further Thought:
199.  Five Necessities of The Valiant
        * A purpose you are proud of
        * Principles you can defend
        * Priorities that stand the test of time
        * People you are willing to die for, and
        * A Past that cannot haunt you

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Father’s Day 2019 - Choose Wisely


How many of you know this guy?

Of course … its Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine.

Evidently, he was somewhat of a nutritionist as well.

How about this guy? Anyone know him?

Oh come on … you all know him … It’s Jackson Haines, the Father of Modern Figure Skating.

He is the inventor of the “sit-spin” and the “International Style” competition skating. This is the type of skating we enjoy in the Olympics today with its graceful ballet type dancing on ice set to music.

He began his career as a ballet dancer, which might not have ever even been possible had it not been for Marius:

Marius Petipa … the Father of Classical Ballet. Here he is again …

He got older … and a lot better looking. Guess it was all that ballet’ing.

Well by now you’ve realized that we are focusing on Fathers. Of course we are … today is Father’s Day in the United States, a day in which we set aside time to appreciate and celebrate our fathers.

There are so many fathers:
·        From Father Abraham, our Father of Faith to
·        The Founding Fathers of America.
·        From the Father of Basketball to
·        The Fathers of the Atomic Bomb
·        There are even Fictional Fathers
o   Father Time
o   Father Christmas

Wikipedia has a list of more than 200 men recognized as fathers of something from the arts to transportation. There’s even a Father of Wi-Fi, Vic Hayes … here’s a picture of him at 75 years of age …

I know we all appreciate him and his efforts to pioneer the 802.11g opportunities we were freely given. That’s what fathers are supposed to do … they make life better.

Yay Vic! He’s still rocking on so feel free to send him a text of appreciation – just send it anywhere by WIFI – surely, he will get it since he’s the father.

Fathers … we expect so much from fathers. But what really is a father? Given all of the fathers we have in history it seems that a father is perhaps best described as a Progenitor – Someone who begins, originates, founds, births or accepts the care of something or someone else.

Under this definition, there are Biological Fathers; Adoptive Fathers; Foster Fathers; Spiritual Fathers and Father Figures, all of which are due some amount of appreciation and honor. Some fathers adopt or foster the care of those in need. These fathers are champions and heroes indeed. In other wonderful moments, those in need adopt their own father figures to look up to and honor. It’s a great and unselfish act to adopt a child but most would agree, it’s a much-welcomed miracle for a child to adopt you back.

God, of course, is the ultimate Father. When God could have introduced and likened Himself to anything whatsoever, from fire to lightening, He chose the image of a Father. God chose to be a Father and He wants to adopt you into His family however, He has left that decision up to you. If you chose Him … the relationship is bound by His covenant and can never be broken. (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5)

It is God’s hope that all fathers would pattern themselves after Him. However, not every father is a model father. When being a father, we should strive to be like God. When choosing fathers, we should Choose Wisely.

John 8
37  “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.
38  “I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39  They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.
40  “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.
41  “You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father — God.”
42  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
43  “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.
44  “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

What do we learn from these verses concerning fatherhood?
1.   Fatherhood is more than a mere biological connection. (v.37)
2.   You will speak the words and do the works of your father. (vs.38-41)
3.   We are never alone when we have a loving father. (vs.42-45)
a.   So, I encourage you to choose wisely …
b.   Far too many life-long problems stem from unresolved “daddy issues”. (That’s a subject for another day.)
c.   God wants to be your forever Father …
d.   Who we allow to influence and father us is our choice.
e.   Choose wisely … because
f.    There’s nothing more important than a loving, caring and giving father.
g.   You can embrace God as your Father today.

To the fathers who have chosen us and to those fathers we have chosen for ourselves, God bless you – we thank you and we honor you. May you always know just how much we appreciate you caring enough to show us the right way and to lead us by your example.

Happy Father’s Day!!!