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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Be like the Bee.

When it comes to what we do with the Bible, H. P. Parker gives this memorable story that points to the need for both knowing and applying Bible truth:
As I looked out into the garden one day, I saw three things:
First, I saw a butterfly. 
The butterfly was beautiful, and it would alight on a flower and then it would flutter to another flower and then to another, and only for a second or two it would sit and it would move on. It would touch as many lovely blossoms as it could, but derived absolutely no benefit from it. 
Then I watched a little longer out my window and there came a botanist. 
And the botanist had a big notebook under his arm and a great big magnifying glass. The botanist would lean over a certain flower and he would look for a long time and then he would write notes in his notebook. He was there for hours writing notes, closed them, stuck them under his arm, tucked his magnifying glass in his pocket and walked away. 
The third thing I noticed was a bee, just a little bee. 
But the bee would light on a flower and it would sink down deep into the flower and it would extract all the nectar and pollen that it could carry. It went in empty every time and came out full.
John MacArthur says, “Some Christians, like that butterfly, flit from Bible study to Bible study, from sermon to sermon, and from commentary to commentary, while gaining little more than a nice feeling and some good ideas. Others, like the botanist, study Scripture carefully and take copious notes. They gain much information but little truth. Others, like the bee, go to the Bible to be taught by God and to grow in knowledge of Him. Also like the bee, they never go away empty.”
Which is it for you?
Do you bounce around, fluttering from one thing to the next? Do you immerse yourself so much in study that you never lift your eyes up? Or are you the bee that drinks deeply; steadily, and then goes out spreading the joy of the Gospel?
If you are a bee, share this message! 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Jesus Understands

Good morning, fellow Lepers

Joseph Damien was a nineteenth-century missionary who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii.

Those suffering grew to love him and revered the sacrificial life he lived out before them. 

One morning before Damien was to lead daily worship, he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more hot water on the same spot. Again, there was no feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. 

As he walked to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, 'My fellow believers,' but this morning he began with... 'My fellow lepers.' 
                                                                               (Story told by Ravi Zacharias)

Damien could fully relate to the lepers because he became a leper. He knew personally the struggles that they faced. He could actually feel their pain. Let's think about Jesus for a moment. He was made like us and therefore understands the hurts we experience.  According to the book of Hebrews, we learn, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." 


I think I can speak for everyone in regards to our need for a Savior that identifies with our human struggles. Isn't it comforting to know that the frustrations we carry, the sorrows compounded in our hearts and even our failures can be understood by the God-Man, Jesus Christ?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mr. Destiny


Monday Morning Sermon Summary

Good day everyone!

This Sunday wrapped up our series on the first Psalm.  I opened the message reminiscing about one of my favorite movies when I was a kid, Mr. Destiny.  In the movie, Frank Burrows played by Jim Belushi had his total life altered one fateful baseball game when he struck out in the championship game during the bottom of the 9th.  With runners on base, he could have hit the ball, won the game, and then became a legend in that hometown.  This would have changed his destiny.

Like Frank Burrows we could change our destiny if we decide to do a few things.  The verses that I preached from this Sunday were:

V. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
V. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish.
 
Image result for mr destiny
 
The first is to “know” God.  According to the Psalm, the, “Lord knows the way of the righteous.”  Let’s focus in on that word, “know” for a second.  In the Bible, the term “know” is often a term that brings a lot meaning.  It can mean:  Approves, or, has regard to” … Do you recall how the Bible describes Adam’s relationship with Eve in Genesis?  The Bible teaches that “Adam knew Eve.”  No need for a biology lesson here folks, the point is that they were intimate.  So when we read that, “the Lord knows the righteous” we have to understand that there is an intimate relationship established between them.  They share mutual affection.  This is a two-way street.  Step one:  get to know the Lord.

The second means to change your destiny is walking in the way of the Lord.  Notice that verse 6 uses the term, “way” twice.  The way or path one takes in life will reveal their lifestyle.  Jesus taught, Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.   See friends, at the end of the day there are only 2 destines available for you and I. You can either follow after the Lord or the lure of the world.  Jesus is clear that one road will be full while the other sparse.  The question is -what path are you currently on? 

If you circle back to verse 5 you will notice that the final destination of the wicked is bleak!  Standing in front of God will reveal whether you:   Know the Lord and have taken the narrow road.

As you read this you are like Frank Burrows standing at the plate in the bottom of the 9th, with men on base.  You have the opportunity to change your destiny!  May you thoughtfully and prayerfully consider doing so.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What are the the Habits of the Happy?

Monday Morning Sermon Summary!
This past Sunday I again preached on the first Psalm, this time focusing on verses 2 and 3. 
 
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”
 
I began the sermon by talking about people’s hobbies. Hobbies are things we usually do not get paid for; still we spend exorbitant amount of time, money, and energy on them. Why? It is because we love them. We lose ourselves in them, we lose track of time when engaging them. Our Psalm sheds light on the attitude of the happy man in terms of God’s Word. Notice that he “delights” in it.
His heart finds joy in it. He finds ways to spend time in God’s Word: Church, study, daily readings… This is not work for the blessed person, notice that it is a delight and NOT a duty! This is habit #1. Furthermore, we learn that after he delights -he meditates.This is the second habit.  He is not satisfied with a cursory reading of God’s Word, rather he spends his time dwelling on, chewing on if you will, the material that he reads. For the blessed person, they are more interested to have the Word get through them rather than them getting through the Word.  In fact, the Hebrew term for meditate is literally, “Hagah,” which means, “to moan.” Ever watch someone in deep thought? Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. You might hear them making that sound as they ponder what they are learning. This is the idea that the psalmist is presenting to us. What we find our delight in; we will spend our days thinking about. In short, our minds will follow our hearts. Now I have to be sure to make the point that the blessed man does not do all of this as an end to itself, no, he wants to know the Word of God so that he knows the God of the Word. This is his great aim. As it should be ours.
 
 
In the next verse, we have the beautiful picture of the person that delights in God portrayed as a fruitful tree that is planted by the water that will produce in its season. Several lessons are ready for us in this verse. The first is that the tree is not dead, it is growing. It is alive! In the same way, you and I should be growing in our faith. The next lesson is that this tree is giving in its season. We learn that the tree has fruit to give. It blesses others that walk by it by giving nourishment. Friend, do you bless others? Finally, the tree is grounded. It has roots that go deep in the ground to find the water. You can’t push over this tree -it is mammoth. 
 
The conclusion of the sermon had me sharing about the person in my life that encapsulated the blessed person talked about in Psalm 1. I spoke of my Italian grandmother, Nonnon. I reminisced of being a little boy and after I had slept overnight at her house I would often walk downstairs to find her at the dining room table reading her bible in Italian and watching her mouth the Scripture audibly. She was delighting and meditating on God’s Word. And if this world ever knew a person that was a spiritual Red-Wood, it was her.

Hope to see you Sunday!  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Walk. Stand. Sit.

Monday morning sermon summary! 

We kicked things off by discussing the difference between cat people and dog people; apparently our congregation is split right down the middle! 

Then, I called attention to Psalm 1, and we looked at how this Psalm splits the entire human race into two distinct groups:  the righteous and the wicked. 

The sermon focused on the first verse, where we read, 
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”

We spent some time discovering the rich meaning of the words and phrases starting with the term, “walk.”  To walk in this passage refers to a lifestyle; it is used in a way to describe a pattern in someone’s life.  In this case, the person is described as taking continual counsel from the wicked.  The first aspect we are to avoid is to take in continual unwise and ungodly counsel because garbage in is garbage out. We have to safeguard our minds!  
-Thoughts. Actions. Habits. Destiny.  
Our thoughts equal our actions.  Our actions equal our habits.  And our habits equal our destiny.  Friends I implore you to safeguard your mind!


The next step of regression is a stance with sinners.  Notice that at first you are occasionally taking counsel from the ungodly, now you are “standing” with them.  This is about being comfortable.  You have went from occasionally seeking unhealthy advice to being so comfortable that you are now in association with or abiding with those that you never thought you would find a likeminded spirit.

Finally, we find the person descending to a level where there is literally no distinction between the godly and ungodly.  The person has drank the poison and now is offering it to others!  They share the same worldview and outlook on life.  They have adopted the same outlook as the scoffer.  

Walk.
Stand.
Sit. 

This was Part 1 of our exploration of Psalm 1.  

Share it if you believe it! 
I hope to see you all next week as we open God’s Word again.