Frustrated Grace

Can you frustrate grace? Apostle Paul said you could. I love his forthright writing. (That’s almost a tongue twister!) But he enforces grace as hard as he enforced the law. And yet as the modern day church, 2000 plus years this side of grace we are continually trying to rebuild works.

Galatians 2:18-21~ For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

A little background on these verses. Just prior to then Paul and Peter had had words. Paul felt compelled to line Peter out regarding his separating himself from the gentiles so as not to offend the Christian Jews who believed to be saved you still needed to follow the ceremonial laws. I fear we have a few laws of our own. The Bible says “Come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17) and too often I hear that verse being used as church separation rather than as the way it was intended as a sin separator. The entire verse reads “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

Before you stop reading for fear I’ve gone over to the all-inclusive side of a one world religion let me clarify that I’m not talking any other faith other than those who have our born of a virgin Savior, Jesus Christ, crucified for the redemption of fallen man, risen the third day and awaiting our return in glory LORD. Now that that’s settled let me continue. We’re still separating ourselves and that ought not to be. I believe in the Baptist doctrine for which I make no apologies, but I have friends of various other denominations. I take each one of my friends as individual saints of God and do not lump them into their denominations, as I hope they do the same for me. Because in truth there are some Baptists I’d rather not be lumped in with. I speak not on any specific denomination this morning because when Paul wrote this there was none, although you can see its beginning.

Why would we want to rebuild what was destroyed?

The ceremonial law. Six hundred and thirteen commandments? I can’t even keep ten. And although I really don’t believe we’re rebuilding Jewish law in the Christian faith I see ideas of man intermingled with grace that to the unsaved, they have to wonder “How much work is involved in Christianity?” The church (as a whole) spends so much time explaining why someone else is wrong that they forget to say why Jesus is right. Peter was so concerned with what the “religious” thought that he hurt the gentile believers, and it’s still true today. We’re still hurting each other. There’s enough false religions out there that we have no need or time to tear down the ministry of another church because we don’t believe as they believe.

It’s really not about what we do, it’s about how we live. What goes on in our churches is seldom seen by the lost because we don’t live the example outside the walls of the sanctuary.

We were created to worship God. When’s the last time you worshiped at work or school. (Don’t try to feed me separation, you can do it if you want to, even if it’s subtle.)

We were told to study the Word. In the words of an old friend, the Word of God is a spiritual “warsh” cloth, it’ll clean you inside and out. When’s the last time you’ve really bathed in the Word.

We’re called to be a witness; to tell others about Christ, not to tell others what others are doing wrong. Jesus said, “I am the way.” He did not say how you dress is the way, how you speak is the way, or how you sing is the way which in many ways we are using to define salvation.

This thought has been on my heart a lot lately. Care to weigh in?

No Where to Hide

jailbird

During my earlier years of working in the courts I was always a little surprised when people would hire bail bondsmen. It was most often the case, providing the crime wasn’t too bad, that a defendant could post 10% of the bail and be released, or they could hire a bail bondsman who usually charged 5%. The difference was, the court gave you the entire 10% back when all was said and done; the bail bondsman used the 5% as profit and you kissed that money goodbye. Seems like a no brainer, but there are many wealthy bail bondsmen (or women) to prove that’s not the case. And a few television shows that thrive on people stupid enough to think it’s a good idea to skip out on court. Today, because of the times we live in, the 10% option isn’t always on the table, too many people would view that as a cheap escape.

But the bondsmen? They’re still in business because they have something the court doesn’t have. Ownership. Literal ownership of the defendant. Apex Bail Bonds in Danville offers fast, affordable professional, and confidential bail bond services. The court is highly limited today with all of our “rights” to do anything to a defendant. But a bail bondsmen has a little more leeway. In the 1990’s one of the court approved bondsmen went a fella’s bond who decided it was a good idea to jump bail and head to Texas. The bondman got wind of it and headed to Texas to find him and bring him back to West Virginia. When he located the defendant he handcuffed him to the roll bar on the back of his pickup truck and made him ride there all the way home, or so the story went. And I believe him because that bail bondsman was as much an idiot as the defendants he bonded out. He was just on the other side of the law.

God and bail bondsmen have a few things in common, but God trumps them for certain!

God, like bail bondsmen often only get calls when someone’s in trouble

They don’t want to talk to either when times are good. But let them get in trouble and the phones ringing off the hook. The difference is, you may or may not get an answer from the bondsman, but God is always on the line and he ALWAYS answers. He has three, yes, no, or wait. And all three are the right answer for you.

God, like the bail bondsmen, has a fee

The difference is, God waved His. As a matter of fact, He paid it for you with His own blood on the cross of Calvary. You owe Him nothing because He gave everything. If you’ve trusted in Him as your Savior; if you believe He died in your place, and rose again the third day to prove we too can have victory over death, Hell and the grave, and that He now awaits you in Heaven where He intercedes on your behalf then your debt is paid in full. Whatever it is that caused you to call on God, is under His blood.

God trumps the bail bondsmen. He not only owns you, He controls your fate

The AllPro Bail Bonds professional can deliver you back to the court in whatever manner he decides, but he cannot control the verdict. God does. Under the blood you are NOT GUILTY. If you’re not saved, it’s GUILTY.

There’s coming a day. And my heart tells me it’s soon that God’s going to hold court.

Revelation 6:15-17 ~ And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

There’s no place to hide. Please know that you know Jesus. If not, follow this link http://thejesuschick.com/the-road-to-salvation/

That’s Not Reasonable!

We need to Reject Reasoning

That idea came to my mind and I immediately thought, “That’s not reasonable!” After all, reasonable is the least we can be right? And then it hit me, “When did God ever settle for the least?”

Mark 8

Jesus had had quite a day! He’d been challenged by the disciples and fed 4,000 people with seven loaves of bread and a few fishes. (Mark 8:1-9) He’d been challenged by the Pharisees for a sign (Mark 8:10-12) and gave them nothing; and He’d again been challenged by His disciples when they failed to remember who He was only hours after the miracle (Mark 8:13-21). They thought they’d let Christ down.

Christ, who was fully God and fully man. What kept the man side of Him from smacking people in the back of the head, I have no idea. When we’ve seen God do great things, why do we expect less. God didn’t settle for less, why should we? The world will tell you that failure is acceptable. Don’t worry about measuring up. Settle for what bread and fish you have. And so we do and tell our kids, it’s good enough. And God says, not so.  Look what I can do with what you have, stop settling for less.

We reason His provision

We say we believe Matthew chapter 8, and yet we don’t allow God to move like that in our lives. We’ve never trusted our bread and fish to Him. I’m not a prosperity gospel believer. I don’t believe you speak wealth into your lives any more than you can speak yourself onto the moon. But I believe in provision. And sometimes God gives us the miracle and sometimes He gives us instructions. And I believe we should show our children that if we trust what we have to Him and obey His words, He’ll provide for us. They need to know Who it is that controls the world. And to the world, that’s not reasonable. The disciples had just seen Christ feed 4000 and then got into a boat and thought God was upset with them because “they” forgot the bread. They forgot He was their provider.

We reason His providence

Christ left that miracle feeding or 4000 and was faced head on by the religious of the day who sought a sign; (Matthew 8:11-12) to which He replied “There shall no sign be given unto this generation.” God doesn’t have to prove Himself to anyone. And yet, someone with a sincere heart, who willingly gives and does for the cause of Christ, to them God says in Malachi 3:10 ~ Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Our families need to know that God doesn’t have to prove Himself to anyone, but He will to those who love Him.

We reason His precepts

Mathew 8:15-16 ~ And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

The disciples thought it was about them. Christ said “No, it’s about Me.” The desire of the religious leaders to have a sign was a rejection of His ministry. Jesus warned the disciples not to reason Him out, just trust Him. We need to understand that if the Bible says it, it’s truth. There’s no work involved in getting to Heaven, just trust and obedience. They go hand in hand. If we believe what the Word says, and we trust in Christ, we’ll obey. It’s not to say we won’t occasionally fail, we will. But it’s then that we understand the protection of God. He does not condemn His children; He helps them back up and puts them on the path again. That is the challenge that He sets before us to show the world Who is in control. Sometimes God puts our own world out of control so that we have only Him to lean on. It’s then that the world can see Him. It’s not when “we” can do it. It’s when there is absolutely no reason “that” should have worked. And God says, “that’s ME.”

Are you without?

Romans 5:6-11 ~ For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Without Him we were Without Strength

There is a certain arrogance in all the earth pre-salvation, a deception from the depths of Hell that you don’t need God to complete your life, or to save you from Hell. It’s mostly present on the good days. It’s those days when they look in the bank and see money, when they look in the mirror and see beauty, when they look inwardly and see health. When all is well. And then it happens…just past the copious (abundance) carnality lies mortality and reality. Sadness or sorrow strike and suddenly you realize that all the money in the world can’t buy health, beauty or happiness. And in reality you are weak. And when you’ve realized that and the arrogance comes back… “I have to fight against this, else I’ll be devoured in grief;” only you’ve not realized it yet but you’re already in the lions mouth.

Without Him we were Without Goodness

I am always in awe of the American military force. They willingly put their lives on the line for a Nation that has allowed the hierarchy and political pundits to throw them to the wolves, who’d sooner they be devoured than defend “their” soil. Nor can I understand how over 2,000 years ago as Christ hung on the cross, crucified by the political and religious factions, yet still willing to die for us so that we could have the hope of eternity in Heaven. I know on most days my goodness is limited at best. And then I look at my children and grandbabies and think about eternal separation. And for a split second I get it. We’d do anything possible to keep from being separated. And when Christ hung on that cross, He did it so that a Holy God could be with an unholy people.

Without Him we were Without Hope

Until you’ve discovered the hope of accepting what Christ did for you, you’ll never get the joy of having hope. The joy in realizing that the fear of death is gone, that He control’s the universe and that come what may you have a home waiting for you in Glory that will allow you to live in a state of perfection with a perfect family, forever. We don’t have to understand His ways, we only have to remember His willingness to die for us. If He was willing to do that, He’s not going to waste our lives by allowing us to go through something without reason, we have a Hope! His Name is Jesus.

Jesus was the final atonement allowing us at-ONE-ment. One in Him. He is our completion.

I’m so thankful this morning for the Hope that dwells within my heart and I am not without. When I’m discouraged, or worried about the circumstances in life, how awesome it to know that Jesus is in control.

How about you? Are you weak, worried, wrong?…God’s got you covered.

Don’t know for sure? 

Elephants and Idiots

Today is National Elephant Day. A day set aside to honor the mammoth creation of God. These gentle giants have been a favorite of children and adults for years. From Dumbo to Babar they’ve made children’s stories and cartoons come to life. One of my favorite audio books was “Juggling Elephants” a story of a man’s experience with the circus and learning to become the ringmaster of his life. I’ve spent much of my life juggling elephants, which is seldom productive. Which is why I often resort to audio books, because in my multi-tasking way it allows me to do two things at once, usually drive. But this morning my reference to the elephants and idiots, is more about the Elephant in the room, which is a favorite idiom of mine referring to something as plain as the trunk on an elephants face, and yet ignored. Welcome to America. The land of idioms and idiots.

It is by God’s immutable grace that America still exists. Our nation as a whole is ran in absolute ignorance as they spend billions of dollars on wars (not our own) and on political factions (which unfortunately are our own) and the American public sits by and chooses to ignore it as if it will magically be all better someday. We pay people for their inept running of our nations and treat them like rock stars when they come into our community and hold no one in Washington accountable for the actions, be they democrat or republican. Why?

Revelation 18:4-5 ~ And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

It’s Sunday morning. My skirt and blouse are hung on the door waiting to be donned and my hair and makeup waiting to be strategically placed to make look like a princess and my heart is on that place that I call home, Heaven. And I hear out of Heaven this morning as I write, “Your nation needs to come out from among them,” and I don’t know how to make them understand, other than to use this very small platform as it is and tell my friends, it has to start somewhere. We can continue to ignore it, and wait for Jesus to return or we can lift our petitions to Heaven, and tell God we’re ready to take America back to the foundation of its roots and then head out the door to church.

Church? Really. I hear it being said. What can the church do? Take a lesson from the elephants. The size and strength of healthy adult elephants leavens tem less susceptible to a predating lion. They’re more apt to be harmed by a human. Their calves are vulnerable to the lion, but the larger cows heard the calves into the center of the herd for protection. Can you see the application that can be made to the church today? A healthy church is much less susceptible to the predator Satan, they’re more apt to be harmed by the people with them, especially a new baby Christian. We need to join together, and make sure our leadership is going in the direction we want. We need to protect the young Christian, and children in our congregations from what the world says is “normal.” We need to stand together as a Christian nation.

I’m not a “let’s all hold hands and get along Christian.” There are too many false religions that are taking people to Hell for me to link hands with everyone and the Bible clearly says to “Come out from among them.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. Revelation 18:4 said it again. But I believe there’s a big remnant that could be called up this morning to make a difference.

For some reason we look at our general congregation size and view that as the church. But look at the statistics.

ATTENDANCE

# OF CHURCHES

WEEKLY WORSHIPERS

PERCENT

7-99

177,000

9 million

59%

100-499

105,000

25 million

35%

500-999

12,000

9 million

4%

1,000-1,999

6,000

8 million

2%

2,000-9,999

1,170

4 million

.4%

10,000-plus

40

.7 million

.01%

TOTALS

approx. 300,000

approx. 56 million

100%

Facts from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Fifty-six million people in churches across America (and yes I understand that they are not all biblically correct) but even so, 56 million and we allow the American leadership to tell us that we cannot make a difference. Hello? Does anyone else see that as ludicrous besides me?

I fully believe that America’s sins have reached Heaven. I believe God is going to get fed up with us and our lackluster attitude towards serious faith. But I believe we can make a difference. I pray you’ll head to your church this morning and think about the idiom and call your congregation to come out from among the idiots. We never belonged there.

POW/MIA’s in the Family of God

Today is National POW/MIA Day; a day set aside to honor the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. I cannot imagine the horrific pain that families goes through when it’s discovered that their loved one is unaccounted for in a battle zone and they are left without closure as their battle rages on long after the war is over. We need to pray for those families today. I have to wonder if God doesn’t feel the same way about those who are POW and MIA in the church.

The POW

If you don’t believe that the church is a battlefield then you’ve either not been in church or you’re in a dead one. Either way you need to get moving. A prisoner of war has been captured by the enemy in circumstances far beyond their control and held against their will. They’d rather be anywhere than where they are. Not to make light of the real POW’s but I’ve seen many sitting in the pews. They’re trapped in bad marriages, miserable jobs or other poor decisions and they don’t see any way out. Satan has them in darkness and a state of despair, and in truth, “out” is not usually the plan. God usually chooses to take you “through”. They’re not weak, they’re worn; the weak would have crumbled under the pressure. They’re not pitiful, they’re purposed. God has a plan for them and that’s why Satan attacked. In their heart they know there’s a light at the end of that dark tunnel but for right now, it’s nothing but black.

A prisoner of war on many occasions, literally and figuratively was King David. No one would call him weak, he killed a giant while an entire army cowered behind him. But mingled in with all his victories were several vexations. Some brought on by his own sin and at other times because he was doing what was right. We can’t always assume that when we’re in a hard place in our lives it’s because we’ve messed up. Sometimes (as was the case with Job) God is going to use others as a vehicle to move us into a new place. That new place may be the same place with a different vantage point. But God’s got a purpose.

3 steps from Victory.

Psalm 6:1-10

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.  For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?  I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.  Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.  Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.  The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.  Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

  1. Pray  – David was in such a state of vexation that his bones ached. Have you ever been there? I know I sure have. It’s that darkest hour when you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can go. The enemy has beat you down time and time again, but you know that’s it’s not over and you begin to…
  2. Lobby for the cause – God knows the end, He also knows your heart but sometimes I think He wants us to prove to ourselves how much it’s worth fighting for. We have to get to the point that we’re sick of listening to ourselves groan and looking at our surroundings and start making plans to get out.
  3. Know that God has heard – Once we’ve prayed and lobbied for our cause, we need to give the enemy their eviction notice and start living again.

Then we need to get our praise on!

What if you’re one of the MIA’s?

What if you’ve known God but you’ve walked out on Him? You’ve left the church and you’re not even sure where to go. You have to go back the way you came. Grace is amazing. If you don’t know God, then you may not understand grace at all. Grace is simply this… God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. He paid your sin debt and He has the gift of eternal life and a 24/7 phone card to Glory waiting for you, but you have to accept it, he won’t force it on you.

I hope if you’re in a dark hour, you’ll call on God. And call on me too, I’d be happy to pray for you. God bless!

3 Things You Need to Know About Hell

Trending on Twitter this morning #Hell. It’s a little down the list and doesn’t have the hash tag (#), meaning that the definition and reasons for its trending are not all the same, nor are they all godly. As a matter of fact, few of them are. I found it ironic and a noteworthy moment in my day that #Hell was trending.

/Trend/ a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Synonym tendency, movement, drift, swing, shift… you get the picture.

/Hell/ noun

a place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering, often traditionally depicted as a place of perpetual fire beneath the earth where the wicked are punished after death. or

exclamation

used to express annoyance or surprise or for emphasis.

Psalm 86:11-13 ~ Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.  For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

It’s not just a trend on Twitter, its a trend in life.

It’s a noun

It’s a real and literal place. It may be considered an exclamation of annoyance in the world, but be not deceived, it’s a place. I’ve never doubted it but I’ve ignored it, and from the time I was old enough to hear the word I had a fear of it because someone taught me. But its influence seems to have dulled, it’s way down on the list of many people’s concern; they walk away from the truth else they’d be scared too. Nobody wants to think about it being a real place, because then they have to come to terms with a real God. Hello? He’s real too, and so is Heaven!

It’s natural

It’s a great tool of Satan to numb you to the fear of Hell. It’s natural not to want to tell your children about it because it’s a scary place. That’s why we don’t tell them about stranger danger, traffic and poisons, right? Of course we tell them about those things, they’re real. See point one, so is Hell. And refusal to talk about it and think about it is Satan’s way of keeping you heading towards it and eternal separation from those you’re trying to protect.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

It’s nearer than you think

In Luke Chapter 12 Jesus tells the parable of a certain rich man whose ground brought forth plentifully. And he boasted in himself saying that he had so much he’d just tear that down and build greater. (Paraphrased my me) but God’s response was this…

Luke 12:20

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

No one is guaranteed another breath, regardless of age, health or wealth. And yet Satan has lulled millions into putting it off another day. I praise God that He put me in a place to hear about Jesus. You’re here today because He wanted you to hear too. If you don’t know for certain where you’d be if you breathed your last breath, I beg of you to make ignore the truth no longer. You tell your children to stay away from poison because you love them. God’s no different. He’s given you the warning. Take heed.

How to know for sure you’re going to be in Heaven, and how to tell your family so you will not suffer eternal separation…

http://thejesuschick.com/the-road-to-salvation/

But Not Always…

We don’t get it for the most part, at least I don’t.

  • We give, but not always.
  • We help when we see an absurd need, but not always on the little needs which very often have the greater impact.
  • We embrace, for a moment, but we don’t hold them as long as they’d like us to.
  • We’re tolerant, to a point.
  • We forgive, the worthy.
  • We feed the poor, at Christmas.
  • We see someone cold, and remember our extra coat needs dry cleaned.
  • We go to church, but we forget that we are the church.
  • We proudly proclaim Christianity, but we forget the humility of Christ.
  • We’re grateful for sacrifice, but not always willing.
  • We’ll post a word of encouragement, but seldom speak it.

These words were heavy on my heart this morning. I need to be more. I need to look around me and see what God sees for I have been that sight in a willing soul at times when people blessed me beyond what I could have imagined. We do what we feel is enough, but not always.

Luke 6:28-38

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.  And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Just a reminder to self… WATCH.

Fruit Flavored Search for a Pastor?

This is my nephew Evan. He once told me that he hated stupid people and that he was the Hero to Stupid people. Hate is a strong word, and we don’t advocate it in our family, so before you write me and tell me how wrong we are for finding Evan funny, remember he was two. You’re a big person, you still don’t know everything you need to know either. You can tell from his picture, being the Superhero to stupid people is exhausting work and he likely has many years of dealing with them ahead of him. Defend on little man…

James 3:12-14

James 3:12 struck me as funny this morning. It was a question that did not require an answer. “Can a fig tree, my brethren bear olive berries?” This was for me like God saying, “Are you stupid?” Read on… either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

And yet, good Christian people believe that church growth will come in the midst of strife. Before anyone thinks that my beloved Victory Baptist Church is in the midst of strife during our search for a new Pastor, WE ARE NOT. But I am very aware that we are human, and by no means exempt from turmoil; Satan would love to start a fight among us.  That is why we talk about it, a lot; and pray about it more than that. And we realize that people are going to have differences of opinions. But God reigns. And He will help our decision for a new Pastor along through the Holy Spirit. And we’ll be fine. But in the meantime, the ministry cannot be stalled. We have work to do.

So, back to the figs and berries. Both are fruit bearing trees; both have purpose and bring forth fruit to the glory of God. But each tree to its own kind and in its own way. The same is true in the work of the Lord. As ministers of the gospel we all do ministry in varying ways. How dull would it be if everyone did it the same?! That precious seed that was created by the Master started a growth process and each fruit has a different transition from inception to completion; all of which bears witness to the Creator. Should not the children of God do the same?

I have no clue which came first the fig or the olive, but one thing is certain, God didn’t discard either. They had a different purpose, just like the body of Christ. The beauty is in the variety. As our church proceeds to choose a Pastor, we’re not replacing Mike Worf. He was an original. We’re choosing another man of God who will have a different flavor, a different look, but the seed that he sows will bear witness of our Creator. It’s an exciting time! I and my church covet your prayers

My 3 fold prayer:

Peace in the process

Patience in the pursuit

Passion in our purpose.

Do you know… Or are you naked?

Heavy on my heart this morning was the scripture story of Peter following Christ after He was arrested. I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with Peter’s life because I can identify with so many of his weaknesses. But when it comes to history, could I even come close to identifying with the strength of his death? Hmmm? But as I read that scripture, sandwiched in betwixt and between were these two crazy verses about someone else who followed Jesus.

Mark 14:51-52

And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

An unnamed man, who according to commentary, likely jumped out of his bed when he heard the commotion in the streets as they lead Jesus through Jerusalem found himself in story central, and not in a good way. He’d heard of this man called Jesus, he really wanted to know more about Him, but here he was about to get a far too close and personal look at the Man who had created such a stir in the community. He hadn’t even bothered putting on any britches (or robe as the case would have been). He just showed up.

Even typing those words made my stomach roll over. How many people are going to show up before Jesus without a robe? Only this time it will not be He on trial but them. Jesus still causes quite a stir in communities; everyone has their opinion, their doctrine, and their denomination. And then there are those who just want to get a closer look. So they get into the conversations with the religious who want to spend more time arguing over Christ than the getting the lost saved which is the whole purpose of why He came. Say what you want about Peter… when’s the last time anyone in your congregation lead 3,000 souls to Christ in one service? (Acts 2)

But now back to the story… the unnamed man is standing at Jesus’ trial in nothing but a sheet and some other young men go to lay hands on him and in fear he drops the sheet and runs away naked. That’s an excellent picture of these last days when we see more and more people who want to know Who Jesus is, but when it comes to finding out the truth they run away, having no robe to cover their sins. If he had stayed he very well might have been drug into Jesus’ story, he too would have been caught up in the persecution.

Just knowing about Jesus won’t win the robe. The Bible says that even Satan ‘knows’ Jesus. (James 2:19) Receiving that robe of white in Glory is about your relationship with Jesus and your willingness to suffer with Him. When the time came for the young man to suffer with Jesus, he fled away naked. Faker’s aren’t willing to take any heat for Jesus. Peter may have cowered down when Jesus stood before the High Priest (so did 10 others by the way) but he ended on a good note. He did preach the gospel again, he was persecuted and hung on a cross upside for his Lord. He didn’t run away when it mattered.

My question to you this morning is this, “Do you have a robe, or a sheet?” If your judgment day was today would you stand or flee? There’s more to it than just saying you’re a Christian, you have to be willing to take part in His suffering. I know, I’ve been the sheet wearer, but hallelujah I have a robe waiting for me in Glory. I was the faker, but now I am the follower. You need to know that you know… are you named in Glory?