Wednesday, August 30, 2023



Life is full of wonderful moments, enjoyable adventures, and happy memories, sprinkled with some trying times. The book of Genesis tells us that God designed the earth to respond favorably to the man and woman He created. He intended the earth and all of nature be a safe, supportive, and sustaining environment in which mankind could be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth. God instructed Adam and Eve to subdue and to exercise dominion over all creation.

The pattern of life is simple. God said that day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest would not cease for as long as the earth remains. God made this promise to mankind through Noah so that we could have justified expectations in life.

Life is designed to be fruitful.

When we plant a seed, we expect to reap a harvest. We sow in hope, we wait in hope, and we reap in hope … we hope the fruit of our labor will taste good and be enough.

God further created mankind to live in peace and to enjoy each other’s company. Life is designed so that every person is born into a family. The meaningful relationships which begin at birth are intended by God to last a lifetime.

This is the way God designed life. Life was always meant to be filled with work and purpose with boundaries and limitations. The glimpse we have of the Garden of Eden reveals that even in a perfect world there is work and boundaries … some do’s and some don’ts’s, if you will. “Do be fruitful and multiply … don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

I will assume we are all familiar with the account of the fall of man and the birth of sin when Eve was tempted by the devil in the Garden. Sin brought trouble into this paradise we call home. Work became more difficult, pain became a reality, families began to be divided over personal issues, and loss due to death became the future.

Because of sin, man lost an eternal relationship with God, and the earth, along with its inhabitants, began suffering under the cruel hand of the new leadership. The prince of this world, who is the prince of darkness, the devil, satan, and his minions of varying ranks, take pleasure in bringing sickness, disease, infirmity, famine, drought, pain, worry, and all kinds of problems to mankind who were created in the image of the God they hate.

Demonic spirits spread lies, create hardships, divide nations, cause wars, and devastate families in their attempts to destroy the peace and hope of the world. Yet in all of this, God has raised up men and women who know Him and trust in His Word. Try as he may, the devil has never been able to overcome those who have faith in God.

Jesus said that as long as we are in this body, we will experience some amount of tribulation and trial. Hebrews 11 tells of so many men and women of faith such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Rahab, who believed God despite their circumstances.

Hebrews 11

32 ¶  And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets:

33  who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34  quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Since the fall of man and the birth of sin, the devil has attempted to destroy the faith we have in God and the hope we have in this life. But he has not been able to stop us … and he never will. Through threats and accusations, pain and loss, the children of God have triumphed. When tested we come forth like gold.

There is an account in the book of 1 Chronicles which occurred just after David was crowned King of all Israel. As with so many things, some people liked it, and some didn’t. However, we know it was the will of God.

The nation of Israel had been deeply divided for seven years after King Saul’s death. The tribe of Judah accepted David as their King however the other 10 tribes of Israel chose a different King. Seldom is there something more heartbreaking than a divided family, especially when your name is God!

7 years later:

1 Chronicles 11

1 ¶  Then all Israel came together to David at Hebron, saying, “Indeed we are your bone and your flesh.

·        Things don’t have to end with your last disappointment.

·        It’s not over because someone else says it’s over.

2  “Also, in time past, even when Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over My people Israel.’”

·        After some years of reflection, the people who did not like David realized they were wrong.

·        God has a way of bringing people around with time.

3  Therefore all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. Then they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.

·        According to the Word of the LORD by Samuel.

·        Samuel had been dead for many years … yet the Word of God was still alive.

·        God watches over His Word to perform it.

4  And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.

·        Just because your last problem is resolved, does not mean you won’t encounter another one.

·        The devil tempted Jesus in the Judean desert … when it didn’t work, the Bible says the devil stopped only to wait on the next opportunity.

5  Then the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You shall not come in here!” Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).

·        Nevertheless …

·        We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of believing the devil’s narrative.

o   We think what we think …

o   We feel what we feel … and

o   We want what we want …

o   Because we believe what we believe.

·        Don’t believe the lie of the devil.

o   He will lie to you about everything.

o   He will say “you can’t do it” then he will say: “you did it!”

o   He will tell you lies about everything and everyone …

·        Jesus said the devil is the father of lies.


Push back against the lies that try to take you rob you of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

We learn from this passage that it may not be easy or immediate, but we cannot let the devil or this world have the last say. Whatever God does, and whatever His will … be like Jesus who did not initially want to go to the cross at 33½ years old however … He prayed … and the scriptures say that He endured the moment of the cross for the joy that was set before Him.

What did Jesus know … despite the cross, the pain, the accusations and even the death … Nevertheless … He had peace and joy in doing the Father’s will.

Refuse to believe what the devil is trying to sell you. You can know it when it goes against the design of life God created you to enjoy in every circumstance.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

He Knows


Revelation 22 NKJV

13  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14  Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

15  But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16  “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

If anyone ever asks me what the secret is to pastoring the same Church for decades, I will say: The secret to pastoring a Church, or successfully doing anything for Jesus for any period of time, The secret is knowing the One who knows everything.

I know God. I have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and my Savior. I know him!

·        I know He is the Alpha and the Omega.

·        I know He is the Beginning and the End.

·        I know He is the First and the Last.

·        I know He is the Root and the Offspring of David.

·        I know He is the Bright and Morning Star.

·        And I know He loves me, and every other sinner who ever born.

The question I want to ask today is: “Do you know Him? Or do you only know about Him?

God knows everything. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

God knows the end from the beginning … The Prophet Isaiah said:

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, “My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.”

You see, God knows everything, and we don’t. God knows everything and yet He guides us down pathways in life which are challenging and difficult at times. God knows the end from the beginning, only we don’t. Yet …

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in the hearts of men, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

He walks with us along our path in light and in spite of what He knows.

We decide a lot without knowing much, but God sees everything, and He is always prepared. God sees the completed work; we only see the moment.

2 Corinthians 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory …

While we see a moment, God sees the future and how the moment contributes to the overall success of His eternal plan. God wants us to trust Him in each moment and with the outcome He is working towards.

God is never unprepared for anything that happens. And I believe that contrary to what some may believe, neither are those who know Him.

Even though we may not always realize it until some point afterwards, God prepares us for the things He knows we will encounter before they happen. God is faithful to us … more faithful than we are to Him. God is faithful …

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

When we know Him, we know He is the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End; the First and the Last; the Author and the Finisher.

And as such … we know He is never surprised but always prepared. And, even though we are often surprised, we are also more prepared than we realize.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

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

This is not just wishful thinking, positive confession, or mind over matter. This is the truth. And, if you know Him, you know this. God is working all things together for our good.

The last week in August of 1988, 35 years ago, the good people who made up the congregation of Golden Triangle Church on the Rock in Nederland, Texas, were more prepared for the tasks ahead than they realized … so was I. God had evidently used the difficulties life had thrown our way to fashion and temper us all into the vessel He knew He could use for His glory.

Time fails me, as it did the writer of Hebrews, to tell you of all the wonderous works, significant signs, and marvelous miracles which have been done in the name of Jesus through GTCOTR in the past 35 years. Together we have reached the whole world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we have indeed left it better than we found it.

How … it’s because we know the One who knows everything … and we trust Him with each moment knowing He will take it and make it all into something beautiful in its time.

So again …

·        Do you know Jesus in a personal way?

·        Will you trust Him with this moment?

·        Give God His chance to write the story of your success.

·        He knows everything!

Church on the Rock, Elders, staff, congregation members, missionaries, family, and friends, I want to thank each and every one of you for the past 35 years of faithful service to the Lord and for all the years God will yet offer and for which we have been prepared.

He knows!

May God bless you and continue to make you a blessing to the whole wide world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Fresh Word



Acts 11 NKJV

1 ¶  Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

2  And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him,

3  saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

4  But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying:

• They had evidently only heard part of the story.
• He who tells the story controls the narrative …
• Human nature is that everyone is the hero of their own story.
• The first person who tells the story is usually believed …


Proverbs 18:17 ¶  The first to speak in court sounds right —      until the cross-examination begins.


• So Peter says … hold on a minute – perhaps you don’t have the whole story.
• And btw – you cannot hear both sides of the story from the same person. 


5  “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me.

6  “When I observed it intently and considered, I saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.

7  “And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’

8  “But I said, ‘Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time entered my mouth.’

9  “But the voice answered me again from heaven, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’

10  “Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven.

11  “At that very moment, three men stood before the house where I was, having been sent to me from Caesarea.

12  “Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.

13  “And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, ‘Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter,

14  ‘who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.’

15  “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning.

16  “Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’

17  “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

18  When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”


• When the whole story was told, their opinions and decisions change and their questions were put to rest.
• The first became silent – then after consideration – they gave glory to God and agreed with Peter.


19 ¶  Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

20  But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.

21  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

22  Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.

23  When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.

24  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

25  Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.

26  And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.


1. Where and when you stop, God will call someone else to keep going.
a. “As far as Antioch”
b. Preaching the Word “to no one but the Jews only.”
2. We need to decide who we are going to be in the scenario.
a. The ones used by God to bring Jesus …
b. Or the ones contending because it did not fit our paradigm. 
c. In some moments I have to decide if I am a:
i. Father or Friend
ii. Leader or Follower
iii. Boss or Servant
iv. An Idea Person or the Decision Maker
v. A Goer or a Stayer
3. Like Abraham, we must always be ready for a fresh word from God.
a. Those contending in vs. 2&3, become supporters in v.18
b. They saw if in a new way.
c. “Who was I that I could withstand God?”

Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Right Choice at the Right Time



Jesus is often seeking our attention because He knows we need to hear something He is saying. We are anxious at times, get distracted, and become engaged in our own necessary pursuits. Yet when He calls, He may not need our help or want our money, He might just be trying to get our attention.


We cannot adequately serve Him before He first servesus. His love first flows to us, before it flows through us. It is difficult to comfort and encourage others whenwe have not yet been comforted and encouraged ourselves. The Apostle Paul said it like this:


2 Corinthians 1 NKJV

3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

4  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


One Word from God changes everything. Jesus wants our attention.


This morning we will use 2 accounts from the Gospels to confirm this truth and to reveal how we can best respond to Jesus when He comes to call


Luke 10 NKJV

38 ¶  Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.

39  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.

40  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41  And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.

42  “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”


We find two distinct messages in this passage.

1. Jesus did not ask Martha to stop doing what she was doing but rather to stop worrying about it.
a. Worry is a distraction.
b. Worry confuses the issues and brings drama and trouble.
c. Martha’s responsibilities were important.
i. There may be a heavy load on your shoulders and sometimes you might be the only one to carry it …
ii. Life divvies work in some seemingly unfair ways at time.
iii. But to whom much is given, much is required (Lk 12:48).
2. Mary made the right choice at the right time for her.
a. For whatever reason, Mary needed to listen closely to Jesus.
b. Mary was aware of what she needed but maybe not why.
c. She made her choice, and no one could take itaway from her.


Hold those thoughts while we turn our attention to a passage from the Gospel of John, chapter 21. This account occurred about a month after the resurrection. It was the third time Jesus appeared to a group of His disciples after He rose from the dead. It was in the late spring on the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum perhaps 1 to 2 weeks prior to the AscensionA group of us will be visiting this very spot together in a few days


Remember, Jesus did not ask Martha to stop preparing for her guests, He just didn’t want her to be worried and troubled or irritated about it. 


Our next account is from the Gospel of John, chapter21:1-14.

• Sometime after the Resurrection but before the Ascension, 6 of the Disciples, including James and John, decided to go fishing with Peter on the Sea of Galilee.
• They fished all night and caught nothing.


John 21 NKJV

4  But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5  Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”


• Jesus told them to “cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find fish.
• So they did and they caught a great number of large fish, so many they were unable to draw them back into the boat.
• John told Peter, “It is the Lord!” (Hey, this is God!) (This is a miracle!) People who experience miracles say this a lot … It’s Jesus!
• Peter put his shirt on and jumped out of the boat and swam to Jesus. (I wonder if he expected to walk on the water this time? lol)
• Anyway … Peter didn’t wait for anyone else, or their permission to leave the ship – He did whatwas in his heart. It was right for him.
“I’m going to Jesus and nothing and nobody is going to stop me.” 
Let the fish go - don’t let the fish go, bring them if you want, I don’t care … 
Jesus has my full attention, and nothing is going to distract me from getting to Him. I can catch fish on another day …
• The other disciples however, got into another little boat and dragged the net, filled with 153 large fish behind them, all the way to shore. 
It seems they were almost as excited about the fish that Jesus gave them as they were about seeing the resurrected Jesus.


John 21

9  Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

10  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”


Planning, preparation, inclusion … the natural and the supernatural working together … people all doing their part … Jesus cooking, Peter swimming … James and John riding in a boat … Thomas and Nathaniel dragging a net filled with fish … everything and everyone working together in concert to make the morning work just like it should … free and easy … no worry, no distraction, no drama, no trouble … just people paying attention to do what God put in their hearts to do.


John 21

12  Jesus said to them, “Come and dine.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”  — knowing that it was the Lord.

13  Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.


The Bible does not say Jesus was unknown to the disciples … it says before they saw Him they didn’t know it was Him but when they saw Him, they knew it was Him. No longer did Thomas doubt, nor did any of the other disciples ask for proof. They knew it was Him and that He was alive, raised from the dead, and there was no more need for questions. 


Jesus had a purpose in appearing to the disciples this third time. He wanted their attention, specifically Jesus wanted Peter’s undivided attention. Jesus had something important to ask Peter. Perhaps this is why it fell on Peter’s heart, and why he was inspired in a different way than James and John. He jumped and swam, they came slowly and stayed dry.


I like thinking Jesus spent the time building a fire which had already turned to coals whereupon laid fish He had prepared to feed His friends. Friends who needed Him. Each one in perhaps a different way.


Please take time to read the full account and the verses that follow. They will confirm that after breakfast Jesus began asking Peter, “do you love Me?” Jesus asked him the same question three separate and distinct times. 


There is no doubt among scholars through the ages that Jesus was helping Peter to get past the shame and personal reproach of having denied even knowing Him during His trial in Jerusalem. The gifts and the calling of God are given without repentance (Romans 11:29). If we are willing, God will forgive and restore. James and John and Mary had no reason to complain.


Who among us is worthy without the forgiveness of Jesus Christ? Yet who among us is unworthy when called to serve by the resurrected Son of Almighty God?


What have we discovered and confirmed today?

1. Jesus may not be asking you to stop doing what you’re doing today, He may only be asking you to stop worrying or complaining about it.
2. Jesus needs your attention.
3. Jesus wants to feed you before He sends you to feed others.