Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1 Cor 10 : Testing 1, 2,

1 Corinthians 10: 1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”a]">[a] 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test Christ,b]">[b] as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptationc]">[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedd]">[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,e]">[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Growing up I always had a Bible. I had a nice pretty one with the's and thou's in it. The spine of the book was nice and in tact because the bible never got read. Oh, I'd look at it every now and then but it all seemed so foreign. The year Camden was born I got a read in a year Bible. What it does is give you an old testament, new testament, psalm, proverb section that you read every day and if you stay true.... you'll be done in a year. I started reading this bible to Camden to get him to sleep. This time when I read it the pages seemed to come alive. All the stories I knew as a child took a new meaning. One of those was of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt to the promised land. What struck me about the Israelites is they were so much like we are today. Look at verses 6-10 and tell me if this doesn't describe the things not only in the world today but things we're battling in the Church!

In this chapter the tempting means testing. Chapters 11-13 give us a brand new hope. It also puts to rest one of our lies we tell ourselves. The lie is that what we're going through is special and no one has ever had to endure or has ever conquered it. So here we read Paul telling us that everything we are facing is just common to the human race. Our temptations and tests are NORMAL! So how weak are we that we can't get victory over the normal tests of life? Not only that but God tells us that he will never give us more than we can have victory over! This is seriously the Mt. Everest story. How everyone said it couldn't be conquered but someone did and after Hillary conquered Everest it became a very common thing for people to climb. We just have to remember God's promise and gut it out. Tough? SURE! Painful? YOU BETCHA! Impossible? NEVER!

There is also a warning in this chapter. Verse 12. Like Pastor Benny always says... "Never say that you'd never do something". You can watch America's funniest Videos and tell that we're all just one small step away from $10K. So what seems so easy on one side may seem impossible on the other. So let's encourage each other. Let's stop the destructive sinning, humble ourselves, and ask for forgiveness. Even if you fail the test miserably and leave a crater of destruction afterward, there is time to heal it. Healing can only take place with three things. 1. Time, 2. Discipline and self control, 3. Putting Jesus Christ first and eagerly seeking him.

Just remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

This doesn't just mean things before the crater in the ground. The things here also mean repenting and restoring. Building back your life and family. We just have to remember to ask Christ for the strength. And while we're asking for strength we need to be disciplined and seriously restrain our sinful actions. Just remember that God is a God of victory not defeat. And if our God is a God of victory then by relation God's people should be victorious. How encouraging it is to me that we always have a path to winning. I've always liked the games where every game you play is winnable. Not to say that you'll win every game because there will be mistakes along the way, but at least you've got a chance. God gives us that chance. :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hark how the bells....

Hey guys- We wanted to give you a few time sensitive announcements in case you missed class today. 
-We will be going Christmas Caroling at a nursing home in Griffin after church on Dec. 12. We will meet after 11:00 service and eat lunch at Ernie's Cafe in the Branch and then head to Griffin. Feel free to bring your whole family!

-We will be giving out Christmas cards at the nursing home. Have your children do some colorful Christian/Christmas artwork this week and bring it to class next Sunday, Dec. 5. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Kid drawings are precious! Mickey Jones can have these made into Christmas cards for very low cost. We will be using "quarter jar" money to fund this.

-Thanks to both Mickey and Lisa Jones for the ideas and getting this trip going!

Cold turkey

So how do we work on the first point I made in the other post?

1. We are sinful without any demonic help. Without any supernatural intervention we would have destroyed everything and everyone pretty quickly. It's a lot easier to blame the Devil on everything instead of just sucking it up and not trying not to sin.

Yesterday Camden came to me and said he wanted to lose some weight and asked how. Without going into the fact that he Could lose a little or at least maintain I want to just equate that with sin. I told him that the way you lose weight is quit eating so much and suffer a little while. It's the same with sin. We're gluttonous in sin, downing huge portions. We're sinful creatures so of course we're always looking for an angle or easy way out. We've all pretty much maxed out the grace credit card. Then when we know our debt is piling up we do the next thing and that's ignoring the problem. It's like someone who is constantly eating and saying... "I just can't figure why I'm not losing weight". Then after we've created this huge problem and we're steadily approaching the forklift to get us off the couch stage in sin, we start looking for lap band surgery. Why? because we think it's easier to do that then just stop eating. So back to what I told Camden. Quit eating so much and suffer while your body thinks it's starving. When you decide to stop sinning you will go through awful withdrawal. Your body LOVES sin. Now you will still sin, but you've got to decide to stop sinning completely. Sounds like a contradiction but it's not. Sin's a sneaky thing. You could make it all day without a sin and then get proud of it and blow it. But what you want is to make up your mind that no matter how much your body tricks you, you don't do it. Don't give yourself an out for it. If you go and decide that you're going to just quit chocolate, you'll just gorge on something else and in the end you'll be right back to the chocolate.

Quit sinning, ask for the Spirit to physically help you through your withdrawal of your sin. Ask Jesus to cleanse you and the Father to forgive you. Don't give yourself any outs because as sinful people you'll take the easy road if it's given. After you wean yourself off those huge sins, you'll notice that the Holy Spirit will convict you on another set of sins that you couldn't even see because you were too busy.

I'm going to share what's really helped me. I say the sin out loud. It works great on big sins that are strong holds. We all mentally hate sin. At least saved people mentally hate sin. But your mind is powerful and can shield our hate of sin and use sin as a drug. How many times do you see people who are addicted to drugs do this? They'll talk about how much they hate it and want to be clean and yet there they are again and again smoking crack rock? It's the same thing with sin. Our body loves sin. It satisfies us and makes us conform to the world. It's so pleasing until we come to our senses and realize what we've done. Then it's guilt and condemnation, self hatred and depression. So every time your evil mind tempts you to sin, just say it out loud.

We as a church have really done a disservice because we want to paint an easy picture of overcoming sin. We say come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness and your life will be changed forever. While this is true on a celestial plane because once you accept Jesus in your heart and repent then you are heaven bound (no I don't want to go any further with that philosophically). But what we do is put on this facade that being holy is so easy. There isn't one person ever alive who came to Jesus and their life was changed so radically that they never sinned again. So we should be doing the equivalent of weight watchers for sin. We should tell people that you will be fighting forever. There is never an easy way out of sin or anything. All your life will be spent conforming yourself to become more like Jesus. It's a painful, rough journey and many times it's going to hurt. So let's go back to the weight analogy.

1. I'm a gluttonous pig who consumes everything I see.
1. We Lie, fornicate, blaspheme, worship idols, commit adultery, envy others, hugely sin.

2. I realize that I'm pretty overweight and if I don't stop I'm going to die.
2. We get convicted of our sin and realize that without Jesus we're going to Hell.

3. Yay! I'm on a diet!
3. Saved!

4. Grapefruit diet, go out and get a few diet books and a bag of grapefruit. Looks easy.
4. Buy a bible and start going to church.

5. Grapefruit sucks, off the diet and Buckner's is out of chicken too.
5. Sunday rolls around and you start to wonder why church has to be so early, 11am is a big sacrifice.

6. Back on the diet! Going to weight watchers and it looks scary.
6. Found a live church and really got saved! Joined Sunday School class to learn more.

7. Lost 10 pounds on weight watchers! this is expensive but there are some positive results.
7. Starting to change life around and realizing all the destructive sin and that victory is possible.

8. Figured out that the scale will weigh me less if I stand more to the back. Yay I get to eat more and people won't know.
8. Everything is cool... I can hide my sin and become active in church. It's not bad as long as I can keep it all hidden.

9. Realize I'm not fooling anyone with the scale trick (you've been seen at Buckner's too). Besides, didn't I want to lose weight to keep from dying?
9. Little by little the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin. Singing in the choir and ushering doesn't cover it up anymore, you know you're a cheater.

10. Ok, from today on, I'm going to go strictly by weight watchers. It's me who wants to lose weight and from now on I'm not going to cheat. Just to make sure I hire a personal trainer AND an assistant to watch everything I eat.
10. Invited the Holy Spirit into life. I don't want to sin but know I can't do it alone. I don't just want to go to heaven, I want to make an impact for Heaven. Jesus is watching me and the Holy Spirit will be my trainer.

11. Wow the pounds have gone. The first few weeks were the hardest because my body really wanted those donuts. I'm well on my way losing weight. My personal trainer thinks I should seriously think about making a marathon my goal. Pretty impossible right now but he knows a lot of people who have done it before. Married the assistant who I hired to watch my every move. Turns out the more they were around the more I learned to love them.
11. Stronghold sins gone. Everyday you are praying for the Spirit to move in your life. Your love of God's word fills you so much that you can't stop thinking about it. You start wondering why you can't have church every day.

12. My trainer is pretty intense. He says that to finish a marathon I've got to have my muscles toned and my endurance. It's hard to believe it but there were muscles under all that fat. I thought I was doing good to just get rid of cleaning out Buckner's, but my trainer now says that cookies are bad too. I realize that there are lot of people who are in the same shape I was in and know that I can help them too.
12. Holy Spirit is rolling. You don't drink alcohol, look at pornography, or covet your neighbor's boat anymore. Now you are being convicted on hurtful things you say or feelings you feel. Still in the word and praying. For real.

13. Training going great, running 10+ miles a day. Really gotten eating under control but sometimes I do eat more than I should and I fess up to my wife who of course gets the trainer to go over a little more eating exercises. Warn the classes I've started that though it gets easier the more you train, you can also have setbacks.
13. You're out spreading the word of Jesus. Teaching or preaching every chance you get. You've become close to Jesus and though you still are sinful it's an open life with Jesus. His word and Spirit have become your life.

14. Race day! There I am at the starting line. My wife and trainer have a little golf cart that they're encouraging me along the race. Right near the end they leave the race and I see them at the finish line cheering me on. After the race they grab me and hug me and then in pomp and circumstance take me to the grand marshal who stops the celebrating and informs me that because I was a fat slob I shouldn't be allowed to be called a marathoner. Just then my wife steps up and shows the sacrifice she made on my behalf and I'm let in and given many awards from most improved to fastest mile. Everytime there is a race I notice more and more of my students becoming marathoners and winning.
14. You die. The race is between when your body starts death and it finishes. Jesus and the Holy Spirit bring you right to the final breath and then you die. They carry you up to God who cannot let you in heaven because you have sinned. Jesus presents himself on your behalf and you are carried into heaven and given crowns because of the life you led. The people you impacted for Christ are received one by one into heaven. The churches you started impact others and the crowns on your head should be feeling pretty heavy but not in heaven.

Ok, that was long but what I wanted to show was this. Why stop at just not putting on pounds? Why cruise into heaven fat only to receive a thimble as a crown? Is that what God wants? Every sin we do tramples on the bloody body of Jesus Christ. Lets use God's word and Spirit to transform our lives. True Joy resides in Christ Jesus. We've got so much to work on and so far to go, but imagine God saying to you...."Well done my good and faithful servant."

So, ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you in your life. Ask him to come and help you overcome sinful strongholds. He's there and ready to be activated in your life. Without him there really isn't any hope for us. Sure you can get small victories, but true life changing victory over the bonds of sin isn't possible unless you truly submit.

Let's be Champions for Christ!

Isaiah 14 Who's who?

Isaiah 14:
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.b]">[b]
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,
17 the man who made the world a wilderness,
who overthrew its cities
and would not let his captives go home?”

18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,
each in his own tomb.
19 But you are cast out of your tomb
like a rejected branch;
you are covered with the slain,
with those pierced by the sword,
those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
20 you will not join them in burial,
for you have destroyed your land
and killed your people.

Let the offspring of the wicked
never be mentioned again.

Yesterday Ryan talked about how we are sin. How we want to blame everything on Satan but in the end we're a filthy awful people who LOVE to sin. Well, I'm probably paraphrasing it but go back and listen to the lesson, I haven't had the chance yet but will later. So this morning I open up the Bible Gateway bookmark that I use for the bible and I pointed right to Isaiah 14. So I'm reading this and think... wow this is a lot like Ryan was saying. I highlighted verses 16 & 17 because that's what I wanted to show. One day everyone will see Satan for who he truly is and be amazed that we were frightened of him. There are times when I love reading Revelation chapter 19 and then 20 which talk of Satan's demise. This too is one of those scriptures and one where we get in on the action and pretty much wonder what all the commotion was about. So there are 3 things I wanted to write about:

1. We are sinful without any demonic help. Without any supernatural intervention we would have destroyed everything and everyone pretty quickly. It's a lot easier to blame the Devil on everything instead of just sucking it up and not trying not to sin.

2. Satan does mess in our lives. It's throughout the bible and especially documented in Job. Also notice that in God's eyes he can perfectly determine what was Satan and what was us. Satan is very powerful when compared to us mortals. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Compared to God and Jesus, Satan is lower than whale vomit. Once we see Jesus descend in all his glory and how easy he deals with the Devil we'll be amazed. Amazed that we were in fear of this easily defeated foe. But also amazed and probably sorrowful that we didn't call more on the name of the Lord for battle. It's like the devil is racing us and beating us in a go-Kart and gloating and we're dejected. We think it's just impossible because he keeps on winning and he's so superior. Well, compared to walking mortals, yes. But then God shows up in a fighter jet to race and not only wins the race, but as soon as the race started God pulled out a little lead and hit the afterburners and a big flame came out and burned the Devil to a crisp. We're going to be sitting there wondering why we never called in the airstrike before. Please keep in mind that none of this happens until we see God's glory though. Without Jesus we will never win. Without Jesus we're better off just not trying to race. Without the Holy Spirit helping us and God's glory surrounding us we cannot win.

So, lets leave 2 & 3 up to the King of King and Lord of Lords. Let those battles be fought on another plane of existence. There are places in the Bible where people went to battle demons and barely left with their life because they were not equipped. Don't even attempt it unless you have yourself in line and are in the Spirit. Lets work on getting ourselves pure and holy. I realize that as long as we draw breath we'll be sinful, but once we get ourselves in the mirror and under the microscope it'll humble us. I think we need to acknowledge that most of the pain in our lives is self inflicted. We also need to realize that God has limited this pain and that if we truly got what we deserved it would be 100 times worse. The saying... you reap what you sow isn't really right because God limits what you reap. We should be on our knees just thanking the Lord for limiting the pain we've brought on ourselves. We're just such shallow kids though. Eternally ungrateful. Just go through your life and look at the destruction you SHOULD have caused and look at how much the Lord had to restrain it. So lets give credit where credit is due and most of the credit belongs to us. Just ask the Lord to reveal to you what sin you deserve the credit for. You'll probably be sick afterward though.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We've so much to be thankful for. Try and take time out to thank God for all he's done in your life. Everything he has trusted you with. And for sending his Son to die for our sins.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Promise by Mercy Me

Ezekiel 22 Holy?

Ezekiel 22: 23 Again the word of the LORD came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes[b] within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her.
26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
27 Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says’—when the LORD has not spoken. 29 The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 31 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

I highlighted chapter 26 because it so stuck out at me. In this day and age it speaks volumes towards the modern church. How many mainline denominations have forsaken the word of the Lord and accepted open homosexuality among it's leaders? How many have forsaken the word of the Lord and committed blasphemy by teaching that Jesus is just one of the ways to God? How many have preached that it doesn't matter what you have faith in as long as you have faith? How many have declared that Holiness depends on the person and the culture? How long have we as a church ignored the Holiness of God? Ezekiel shows a very wrathful God. A God who is upset with how horrible the people have become. Above it talks about the different sexual sins. How far we've fallen. It describes us and our condition. So what do we do? Well it's written in God's word.

1Peter 1:
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”a]">[a]

Be Holy! You know, there are horrible evil things that were complete strongholds in my life. Things I thought I would never overcome. Things I knew I couldn't overcome without a miracle from Jesus. But I can tell you that the Holy Spirit has burned these places from my life. Yes, it's a struggle every day. Every second I am in constant prayer for the helper's strength. In the end after everything is said and done, it comes down to one thing though. I have to tell myself, "Stay Holy". Please don't misunderstand me because I'm still wretched. But I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit combined with my heart and mind focused on Holiness will yield Holy results. I know that God is looking for Holiness and I want to be set apart from the dross of the world. In doing this my family will be set apart.

It's time to stop playing and get to working on being children of the most high God. God calls us to strive for a holy life. We're already acting the part so why not ask for Jesus' help to start being the part? Why not make a commitment to put aside the destructive things of sin? If it's too much sin then why not start by cutting down the littlest one first? It works like Dave Ramsey's debt snowball. Then move up to the next sin. Get some victories early. If you turn your heart and start trying and praying for the Holy Spirit to come and make a difference to help you, he will. It's time to stop being just a private in God's army and start making rank. Be holy, it's great advice for a better walk with the Lord.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yesterday's lesson

I'd like to encourage everyone who doesn't normally listen to the lessons on youtube to take 30 minutes and re-listen to this week's lesson. It's interesting that both the sermon and the lesson are taken from the same scripture but were completely different. I really think this scripture is very vital in our walk with the Lord. It's so upsetting to imagine us making Jesus vomit with our disgraceful walk. The view point I'm getting ready to share isn't one that's approved but I'm going to share it and if told I'll take it down but it's what I'm beginning to feel.

Good works are a path straight to Hell. It's so easy to get caught up in doing things for earthy people that we've put everything on those works. What do we do? We think just because people are serving as an usher or playing an instrument or on singing in the choir that they are a Christian. We somehow elevate someone as a big Christian who decides to open a soup kitchen to feed the poor. We tend to praise and think that the people doing all the work are the people who are on fire. NO, NO, NO! We've gotten so tied up with HELPING people. The whole serving Sunday thing, everything, doesn't mean anything if we don't have a real experience with Jesus. Sure the church needs these things, but without the fire from the Holy Spirit it's all in vain. Just a veil to cover working and helping people out. The Gospel isn't a social Gospel. Jesus didn't come back to feed people and build things for them. Jesus came to save us all from a sinner's Hell. Jesus wants us in HIS boat. We tend to get things backwards. We think that we'll go to church and act like a welfare office and we're doing a great job. The problem is that we need to get our hearts concentrated on Jesus. Seriously on Jesus. Praying for his mercy in each day. On our faces begging for forgiveness from a Holy and Righteous God. Begging for deliverance from sin and selfishness. Then after we do this and develop our relationship the rest will fall in line. Paul didn't go out and establish soup kitchens. He established the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm seriously not picking on anyone, seriously. It's just that as I listened to the lesson again it's what God placed on my heart. I don't want to be Jesus's vomit. I want a double helping of the Spirit of Elijah. I want the Holy Spirit to come and burn out all the sin and turn my heart from it. I want deliverance.

It's so easy to work. It's easy to serve and show up for church. It's easy to bust your butt on a project and serve. It's hard to start off your day in prayer begging for deliverance for the day. It's hard just to praise him. This message really hits home to me because it's me. So long I've hid behind the "It's not my personality" thing. So long I've hidden behind "I'm giving all my time serving" thing. So little time actually in a relationship with the one who saved me from Hell.

Ephesians 2:
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesha]">[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Now reading Ephesians you can see the order God wants us to have. First we are made alive. And then because of our being alive in Christ then we will do his good works as he directs. Maybe I'm just the only one who seemed to get this backwards. Maybe but I'm doubtful. What you do for Christ without Christ will pale in comparison to the work you can do WITH Christ for Christ. God's Holy Spirit is the helper and it's time we as Christians start to seek it's power. Pray for revival in your own heart and just start to seek the Holy Spirit. I'm really trying in earnest, just to seek God's face in everything I do. I'm done with hiding behind my works. Thanks for such an encouraging message Ryan. It really is time to quit messing around and get on our knees and be part of God's true church.

Psalm 85

Psalm 85:
1 You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.b]">[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.

4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

8 I will listen to what God the LORD says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.

Friday, November 19, 2010

... but who are you?

Acts 19:11
Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We[a] exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered[b] them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

The demons know the name of the Jesus, and tremble. Paul to was known as someone to be feared. In the theater of my mind, I see the demons almost laughing, sarcastically, "Who's this guy?! He thinks he has power?! " Even the demons saw through his facade, what the Jewish Priest wanted was the glory without the sacrifice that comes with the power.

You see, there is a difference between the knowledge OF Jesus, and KNOWING Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

Do you know the power of Christ?
Do you actively tap into that power in your daily life?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

John Mark McMillan | How He Loves: A Story

I just can't help worshiping in this song. It's just so personal how the God of creation can love me even after all the things I've done to trample his son's sacrifice. Even after all the times I've turned my back on him. After having to tune out christian songs so I can enjoy my sin. There he is waiting for me. Jealous for my worship and love back. In this video, the author explains how the words came and talks about it being a sloppy love. I'm so grateful for God sticking with me and loving me through my ungratefulness. Because I've more than thrown Jesus to the ground and nailed him to a cross. I've constantly spit in his face and been ungrateful for the sacrifice he's given for me. Like an infant I pitched fits right in the middle of Walmart. God, like all loving fathers had to give me a bottle of milk just to shut me up. So when I read this it describes me.

Hebrews 5:
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Lord, help me to live a righteous life filled with compassion and mercy. Help me use my struggles and sin as a testimony of your love and grace. Help me to just kneel in awe of your sacrifice and try to live my life as an example and not a waste of it. Holy Spirit please wash over me and flood me with your righteousness and vigor for your word. Without you there is no hope for me. Lord I thank you so much for every drop of blood and every tear you cried. I love you so much for every pain and torture you endured. Just so I wouldn't have to. Just so my name could be written in the book of life. Just so I could draw close to you and be justified in the eyes of our Father and Creator. There is no way I could ever thank you enough, except to not waste your sacrifice.

MORE THAN ENOUGH ( the brooklyn tabernacle choir )

World peace

Psalm 122: 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your prosperity.

Ryan talked about this Sunday but I just read this and felt this way. I know worldly peace isn't possible without Jesus Christ returning and even then it will be more chaos for the people left on the world. But I suggest that Christ can return today to our lives and provide the peace within our walls. There's nothing we can do to insure 'world' peace, but every Christian could be at peace with his maker and truly submitted to him. Of course this would require dropping our worldly garments and trading them in for the glorified robe of Christ. So what am I willing to do for world peace? I'm willing to transform my heart and let my Lord have my life and my family. I will seek his face and delight in his ways. Yep, Jehovah Jireh, You're more than enough for me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Acts 18 are we ever alone?

Acts 18: 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.

12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”

14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them off. 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.


2Kings 6: 15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Paul had word and Elisha had vision. God has his angels all around us fighting for us. Not only that but God has his people placed in strategic locations for the benefit of the Gospel. I can't imagine the shot in the arm it gave Elisha's servant to look out and see the armies of God. We tend to think of these people as brave but Elisha and Paul didn't have to be brave. They had the knowledge and visions from God that their enemies never had a chance. It would be so awesome to have that portion of the Holy Spirit. I keep praying for my portion to be increased and multiplied. See, there is knowledge and you get that by studying. You can know everything there is to about the Bible and never have an experience with God. There is faith. You can have faith in God and Jesus and be a true believer saved. I would say that 80% of Christians are here. I'm not knocking this place because we usually land here first. Just believe. Then we slowly start getting conviction to know God's word. So we start studying and learning. Usually it's around here that we really start to notice the people that God has just kicked in the butt. Like Ryan, Larry Ballard, Ken Page, Pam Jenkins, Ricky, Benny, Cameron, etc. We start believing that all we have to do is study and believe more and we'll somehow rise to their level of faith and works. What we're missing IS the Kick in the Butt from God. That's his Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit the bible reading will be a chore. The thing is... the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It's not something you can get by studying or believing. Some pray for years before receiving it. Some don't even pray for it and it falls when they first believe. I do know that from reading in Kings that Elisha asked God for a double portion of the Spirit that Elijah had. So don't be afraid to ask God for a double portion of what Elisha had. Will you get it? Only God knows... Elisha got it and could literally see the armies of God. Imagine how unhindered your walk with the Lord would be if you could heal and see the presence of God all around us. It's something we tend to drown out. I believe it would change you forever into an amazing warrior for God. Well, I went off topic I think, but I guess it needed typing. Anyway, God has people and angels all around us so we should be extra bold for him.

Weekly reachout 11/17

Hello fellow aliens to this land.

    I hope all is well in your Thanksgiving season. I had the tough experience of hearing a radio station that was already playing twenty-four hour Christmas music. Folks, there is no amount of "gay" apparel I intend on wearing this season. I love Christmas, but there should be a legal limit on driving under the influence of Christmas music.
    We need a few men to show up at the Branch Saturday morning at 8. We will be going to work on the ramp. We will only be there about 5 hours or so. Bring your post hole diggers and as many tools as you can fit in your truck(haha). This will probably be a multiple week thing but we will not overwhelm you. There will also be a project building a small well house roof. The supplies have already been bought for this one.
    Please remember the toys for the children in Arizona. If every couple decided to buy a five or ten dollar toy, then we could really show out for the Lord and bless a ton of hurting children. The toys can be for boys or girls. Thanks ahead of time.
Don't forget the couple's meeting at the Green's house this Friday night. It will start at seven and last until you just have to leave. If you have any questions, contact Shannon or B.J. Green.
Several of you have asked about a Christmas party. Then there are several of you that have said that your December is so loaded. You probably could not make any week. We are going to have dinner and a movie(Passion of Christ) at the Branch in January so more people can make it. Yes, we will be serving popcorn that night too but keep it a secret(ha). Scott Smith is arranging for us to get the Branch. If you have any questions, then ask him about it Sunday. It would be a great night to bring your famous food favorites for all to munch on. Well, me anyway;)
    Thanks to all of you who bring dough-nuts, make coffee, set up the webcam, set up recordings, work the web page, work the class blog, plan outings( Dauset Trails was great this year),type in prayer requests, invite new class prospects, prepare meals, deliver cards, build on our projects, help find lesson props, etc., etc., etc.!!!!!!!!!!! Amy and I are but a tiny part of the class when it comes to the gears moving. Without every single one of you, I am just another dreamer,  in front of the mirror, talking to no one but myself. I know that God leads you to serve and I can never tell you how much I thank Him for it! God bless you!     Ryan

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Love One Another

1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This was the message at our Monday morning devotional this week. Yes, we do devotionals at work, in the public school system.

Jeff Miller led the devotional. He talked about how we should show love to others even when they are not nice to us. I would have done well to remember that on Saturday. I let one inconsiderate person ruin most of my birthday.

On another note, one of the ladies I worked with asked Jeff where the bible talks about foot washing. She had gone to a wedding over the weekend where they incorporated foot washing into the ceremony. I thought it was very interesting that she didn't know that. She sits in our devotionals every Monday. It made me realize that some things we assume people know, they do not. Also, the importance of repeating the foundational stories of our faith. This conversation about foot washing went on for a few minutes. I was able to tell her about the time our very own alternative school students witnessed foot washing at Impact Ministries, involving one of their school board members (Ryan Christopher). The students were so impacted by that event from last year that they still talk about it. I remember Ken Page was worried about how to be or what to do when the kids came. Of course, he did what he always does, praise God and preach the word.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tid Bit

I was thinking this morning one thing that Pastor Benny says, "there are three kinds of people, ones going into a storm, are in a storm, or are going out of a storm."

Each of our storms are different. They could be financial, marital, physical to name a few. But my current storm is one of confusion. It is from the evil one! How do I know that? Because my God is a God of order, and of peace.

Today I want to encourage you (and me) to be still (PS 46:10). Let's not partake in the chaos!! If I engage the chaos, then I cannot hear my LORD's still small voice (1King 19:12). Let's be confident that God will lead us!!

Ps 26:3 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Is 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You,Because he trusts in You.

I choose to wait on Him, and while I wait, I will watch and as I watch, I will learn because Abba will never waste a lesson or a hurt.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

"His Name"

Incase some of you did not know, but I do Christian Rap and Ryan is a big inspiration for my music. Alot of his messages will get my mind turning and blood flowing and next thing I know I have a song ready. In a song I did recently called "His Name" I added some clips of Ryan from our SS class to it.. give it some extra flavor. If you haven't heard it I suggest that you should allow your ears to give it a try. If you do, please let me know what you think. http://www.reverbnation.com/dasciple

I also started up my own blog at http://da-sciple.blogspot.com/

Thanks Everyone!

- Da-Sciple

11/14/2010 Part 3

11/14/2010 Part 2

11/14/ 2010 PART 1

Friday, November 12, 2010

Acts 12 Who's Peter?

Acts 12: 5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

I so wish I could say that I'm some awesome Christian. I wish I could drone on about how every morning I get up like Jesus did and spend hours praying and in God's Word. "I'm a night person", was my excuse. Ok then, so my nights are filled with praying and God's Word? Nope... It's filled with TV. I thank God for my wife because she has been my spiritual water carrier for way too long. If left up to me to be the spiritual leader of our household then who knows where we'd be. My beautiful loving wife has gotten up early and studied and prayed. Prayed for our family, for me to be a Godly man. Maybe for me to just one day wake up and finally help her lift the weight of being spiritual leader. I've been so lax, just watching tv, playing on the computer, filling my time with everything But prayer and the Word. Giving it all lip service. Want to know who's Peter? I'm Peter as are many of you.

Chapter 12 finds Peter in prison and heavily guarded. I'm going to use me as an example because I so fit the role of sinner. So here I am in prison. Prison of sin. Prison of TV. Prison of doing everything to get out of being serious about God. So who's guarding and chaining me? That would be my 'friends' guarding me. Going along and keeping me there. Chains are the distractions. So Here I am just sleeping away. When the Angel of the Lord woke me/Peter. The Angel is pretty much the same, except for me it was more the Holy Spirit. He led me out of the prison before I even knew it, Bam! There I was outside the prison thinking it was all a dream but it's as real as it can get. He runs to the people who have been praying for his release and at first they really can't believe it. My wife who has been praying for me earnestly and constantly can't believe that I finally WANT to get up and read and pray with her. I think it's so awesome that Peter wasn't even praying... just snoozing away, but there were so many interceding on his behalf. I can hear Charity right now thinking.... wow he finally gets up once and he wants a standing ovation by writing about it on the blog? No, not at all. I just thought this really related to me exactly where I am. I'm not saying I'm a Peter. I'm saying that I'm making a stand to become a better Christian to walk closer with my Savior AND praying for my family. I want people to realize that they are not alone in the disfunctional/lazy part and that it is possible to break the chains. Not possible through yourself, but the angel of the Holy Spirit can give you the victory. I pray our lives are changed and that we can make such a move for Jesus. I think that we must start one by one to put aside our toys of distraction as fun as we thought they were and get serious. I want in on the excitement of dreaming dreams and prophesying during the last days. I want in on making a change in people's lives and bringing them to Jesus.

It's not about salvation or getting us to believe. Salvation is guaranteed to all who accept and pray to get Jesus in to their hearts, and I believe that's pretty much all of us. It's about not being satisfied with the minimum requirements of salvation. I don't want a taste... I want the whole meal of Christ. I want it for all of us because I just can't imagine the power for Christ we'll have with us being full of the Spirit and living for him. It excites me to no end.