Saturday, April 20, 2024

Winning Words


Imagine that we are in the middle of a championship game, and I am giving a half-time talk. That’s what I do each Sunday and Wednesday


Wouldn’t it be great if the coach already knew the outcome and the pep-talk he was giving was based on the win he knew would follow? If we only had the whole story perspective before we called the plays. I imagine we would run the pattern with a lot greater purpose and passion


It’s always been the same. Faith has always been required to please God in the middle of a game. The disciples of Jesus did not have the advantage of knowing the whole story when making their decisions and neither do we. Listen up like you’re in a locker room or on a sideline huddle and let me give you some winning words.


The Jewish Feast of Passover begins tomorrow, April 22nd, at sundown in Israel. So according to the Jewish calendar, today, right about this time of the day in Jerusalem, about 2000 years ago, Jesus was enjoying the Last Supper with His 12 disciples in an upper room on Mount Zion. 


Towards the end of the supper, an hour or two from now historically, Jesus encouraged Judas Iscariot to go ahead and do what he felt he had to do. (John 13:27ff) Judas left the upper room to fulfill his agreement with the high priest and deliver Jesus away from the multitudes who believed in Him. (Matthew 26; Luke 22:6)


When the Last Supper was finished, the disciples accompanied Jesus on a 15-minute walk out of the city, eastward and across the Kidron Valley. Just at the foot of the Mount of Olives Jesus stopped in a quiet place called the Garden of Gethsemane. He was troubled and He wanted to pray. (Matthew 26:36ff)


Judas knew where Jesus and His disciples would take a short break before beginning their climb up the steep trail towards Bethany. After Jesus finished praying and had uttered the memorable words, “Not My will but Thine be done, He found His disciples sleeping and told them to wake up because His betrayer was at hand. 


Matthew 26 NKJV

47 ¶  And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

48  Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”

49  Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

50  But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.

51  And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

52  But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

53  “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?

54  “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”


Don’t you know it was extremely hard for the disciples of Jesus to imagine this could ever be the will of God. Once we see this from whole story perspective, we easily understand more about God and more about life.But in the moment, all they could do was trust His Word.


From this account we learn:


1. There is a time for every purpose under heaven.
a. Time is the envelope into which God has placed all of His promises. None of them will fail.
b. We must be brave and trust that this is, or that this is not the time.
c. That was the reason Jesus was troubled and stopped to pray.
d. He wanted to know … “Is this the time?”
e. God is the only One who can tell you for sure.
f. There will come a time when you will have make a decision by faith.
2. God teaches us that nothing takes the place of being prepared.
a. We will never catch God unprepared for what we have done, or what we will do … 
b. Just ask Jonah and the big fish.
c. Jesus was prepared for His betrayal, arrest, trial, and the cross.
3. Your limited experiences are not the measure of God’s will. 
a. Your life on earth is not the measure of God’s will for mankind.
b. God does not first seek our permission before He upsets our plans.
c. God’s will does not have to make sense to us before it can be God’s will.
d. The disciples learned to trust God beyond the disappointment.
4. We can become so focused on what we know God wants for our lives that we miss what God is doing in our lives.
a. What may seem like a surprise to us, may be a plan to God.
b. We can become so caught up in the future that we miss the point of the present. 
c. The disciples did not want to fail Jesus or fall short of their destiny … but neither did they understand what it took to make their dreams come true.
d. There is always a purpose in the process. (Romans 8:28)
5. Without God’s intervention, life would be hell!
a. The hell we are going through does not compare to the heaven we are going to.
b. Many challenges begin with you not being able to and end with you being well able to. 
c. In order to be successful, you have to begin somewhere.
d. Why not begin here and now


There is no problem so big that you cannot outlive it, out last it, or out distance it, if you will only get on the right road and stay on that road until you get to where you want to be. The right road is always found in Jesus. He is the Way; He is the Truth; and He is the Life. Winning words!


Now let’s go out there and run the next play He calls the way He calls it …

Friday, April 19, 2024

Faith Supplements Part II: Virtue

Last week we began a new series called Faith Supplements. We are going through the 7 spiritual ingredients listed out in 2 Peter 1 that help form a godly life. Whether it be vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc, supplements are so important. They help maintain or even increase our overall nutrition in areas we might be lacking.Supplements help provide a boost to our overall health. 


Our spiritual health is just as important. Like vitamins, there are spiritual supplements that we can take everyday to help boost our faith, spiritual walk. Last week we discussed the responsibility we have to maintain our relationship with God.

God has given us everything we need in order to build a godly life
Godly Life = To be pleased with God and to be pleasing to God
God gives us the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him
Everything we need to build a godly life is found in His Word
They are His great and precious promises given to us
By which we have access to the divine nature
And help us escape corruption from our evil desires


Therefore, we maintain our relationship with Jesus by growing in our knowledge of Him through His Word and by taking Hold of the promises that have been made available to us. This is the every day walk we take in order to get closer to Jesus. These are the basics! Now we get to verse 5.


2 Peter 1:5

5 For this very reason, make every effort…”


Peter says to make every effort. In other translations it says with all diligence.” It means to move quickly, to make haste. It means to be eager and willing. It means to make something your own interest. It is quickly obeying the Lord and making what interests Him your own. 


To make every effort means to make the necessary adjustments in order to accomplish what is at hand. It means to do everything you can to do what is needed.


Peter is telling us to make every effort, do everything you can, to



to supplement your faith…”


That is, to add to your faith; to make it better. By adding these things to our life, we become more spiritually healthy. These are the natural growth of our faith. These are things we ought to see growing in our life. If we dont see these things, then we add them to our daily life like supplements.


So what must we add to our life? Lets take a look at the first one listed


supplement your faith with virtue…”


What is virtue?


Virtue is moral excellence. What does that mean?


Excellence is doing your best in every situation. If we give our best only some of the times, then we are not displaying excellence. Therefore, moral excellence is doing what is right in every circumstance.


Virtue = The courage to do the right thing in every situation


To understand virtue, we must first understand what the right thing” is. 


We live in a world where the right thing is many times the wrong thing. 


Some people would say that the right thing is to tell others that it is okay to believe what they want to believe (it doesnt matter); cheat on their income taxes, encourage someone to get an abortion, etc.


There are things that are celebrated in our culture that go against Gods Word. The world calls them virtuous while the Bible calls it sin.


In other words, we cannot look to society and culture to define for us what is right.


God establishes our moral compass, not society. God has already established what is up and what is down, what is north and what is south, what is right and what is wrong.


The right thing is that which God has commanded in His Word.


Therefore, being virtuous is doing the right thing, according His Word, even when nobody else is. Doing the right thing in every situation.


At the end of the day, we live by our convictions. 


Without convictions, we can be talked into doing anything. 


The question is, what convictions are we living by? 


We need godly convictions, which come from the Gods Word.


Godly convictions give us the courage to do what is right in all situations. 


Daniel is a great example of this

• Forcibly taken from his home
• Taken to another country 
• Required to live in another culture for the rest of his life
• Surrounded by a pagan culture and pagan gods
• Daniel remained committed in his devotion to God even under the threat of punishment
• Remained upright despite the pressures of the surrounding culture 
• Spoke the truth even when the circumstances did not favor him to do so


Daniel was morally courageous. Daniel had godly convictions. It wasnt just something he did because everyone else did it. It was something he believed and stuck to even when things got difficult


Let us be like Daniel and seek to be morally courageous. Let us stand by our godly convictions and do the right thing even when it is difficult.


As Christians, we must add this ingredient to our life. We need virtue. We need more believers doing what is right, not in order to get a pat on the back, but simply because it is right; in order to please God.


Titus 2:11-12

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age


Let us as Christians live upright and godly lives. Let us be a light to the world around us. Let us not be Christians with no standards. Let us supplement our faith with virtue.





1. Do not allow society to become your moral compass
2. Allow Gods promises to become convictions you live by
3. Decide to do what is right in every circumstance

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Story Continues


Early in the morning, just before sunrise, on the 3rd day after Jesus had been crucified and buried in a garden tomb close by Mount Calvary, He was raised to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. There was an earthquake and the large stone which sealed the entrance to the tomb was rolled away by an angel. The Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb fell silent and were unable to offer any resistance. That Sunday morning Jesus proved Himself to be the Son of God and victorious over sin, death, hell, and the grave.

First Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and then to some of the other women who had come to the tomb to properly anoint His dead body for burial. Later that same day Jesus appeared to two of His followers who were walking along the road to Emmaus. At some time during their 2½ to 3-hour walk, Jesus joined these two men and asked what they were discussing and why they were sad. The men were astonished to imagine their new traveling companion was unaware of what had recently taken place in Jerusalem. They did not know they were talking to Jesus.

As they explained what had happened just 3 days earlier, and how the Jewish leaders, along with the Roman government, had killed Jesus. They revealed:

Luke 24:21  “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.”

“We were hoping” … but not anymore. Circumstances we didn’t expect changed our minds about Jesus and about our future.

Jesus had a purpose in talking with these men. He needed them. Jesus needed them to encourage others and to be a witness for Him. However these men had lost all hope in Jesus … they couldn’t see a better day.

How can you encourage anyone else if you cannot encourage yourself? These two men were good men, godly men, they were just going the wrong direction in life and believing the wrong thing. Thankfully, Jesus was with them. I love the fact that Jesus is with us even when we don’t know it and even when we are going the wrong way, thinking the wrong thing.

Luke 24

28  Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.

·        Jesus still wants and waits to be invited into your house.

29  But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

·        It is important we don’t forget our manners. In their case, their upbringing.

·        Despite their own hurts, heartaches, and hurdles of life, they did not forget to be kind to strangers.

·        The pain you feel may be the worst pain ever, but not to others.

o   What makes your pain and disappointment real is that it’s yours.

o   Don’t allow your pain to make you feel others have no right to theirs.

·        These two men remembered their manners and invited Jesus to stay.

o   A few things would have happened in the home before dinner: They would have shown Him a room where He would have washed and freshened up and got ready for dinner.

o   Dinner would have taken place traditionally just before sundown at the closing of the day.

30  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.

·        What a marvelous message of Christ. We see it over and over again throughout the New Testament how that Jesus:

1.  Jesus Took the Bread

2.  He Blessed the Bread

§  Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.

§  Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth.

3.  He Broke the Bread

4.  And He Gave the Bread

·        He did the same with the fish and loaves. (Matthew 14; Mark 6)

·        It’s a picture of what God did with Jesus, who is the Bread of life.

·        It is a picture of what Jesus does with us.

·        This is the process of our lives in the hands of God.

·        The same loving gentle hand that takes us, blesses us, and breaks/multiplies us, so that He can give us.

·        You can never be fully given if you cannot be truly broken.

Jesus restored their hope. Jesus had been there with them, encouraging them all along. From their brokenness, from their despair, from their confusion and their total lack of hope, hope rekindled.

Only Jesus could touch that hurting place with a healing hand. Jesus knew how to break through the wall of despair and deliver them. King David said:

Psalm 40 NKJV

2  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

3  He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD.

Luke 24

31  Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

32  And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

33  So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,

34  saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

35  And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.

·        They knew Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

·        We also come to know Him deeper in the times we need Him most.

Life unfolds for us one day at a time. Just because you are sad, disappointed, or lonely today, does not mean these feelings will last forever. Wherever you are in life … if you have lost hope and feel like your world just crashed and that you want to go to bed, pull the covers over your head and go to sleep so you can wake up from this nightmare … Jesus is right there with you.

Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. He is talking to us. The screaming in our head may be drowning out that still small voice trying to comfort you and give you direction.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were talking so much they overwhelmed themselves and didn’t even realize that it was Jesus trying to come alongside them to give them hope. This is a picture of what Jesus does with every broken-hearted Believer.

From Joseph to Jochebed, from Mary Magdalene to the mother of Jesus, everyone has encountered disappointment. This world is a cruel dark place and we are here to shine the light. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world.” And “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in this world.” And “No weapon which is formed against you shall prosper, but every word that rises up against you to judge you, you shall condemn. Because this is your inheritance, and your righteousness is of Me says the Lord.” And, “This is the victory, even your faith.” And “Call upon Me and I will answer you and show you mighty things you have not known.” And “When the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against them.” And “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you want and thank Him for all He has done.”  

Open your eyes, open your ears, open your heart. “If God is with you, who can be against you.” In your darkest day, there is still hope. You can come to know Him closer in the times of breaking. He was known to them in the breaking of the bread.