10-15               Distractions

 

**Calls**

**Text**

**Toys**

**People**

**Building**

Luke 21:5-6 “Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said,  “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

We tend to be a people of stuff.

We tend to be a people of pride.

We tend to be a people who are proud of our stuff.

 

“Oh, look at this new thing I got”

“Oh, see the pretty decorations?”

“Got me a new truck, jealous?”

 

We get so easily sidetracked by the stuff of the world; even the stuff at church.

I am not saying that we do not take care of God’s Stuff, or want God’s stuff to look its very best.

But sometimes we humans can go overboard and spend a lot of God’s money building huge, giant glass edifices or brick castles we forget that it is God’s money.

We forget it serves a purpose but is a tool; and not one that will last forever.

The disciples were even caught up in the glitz and glamour of the structure.

They were DISTRACTED by the shiny objects of the world

The Temple Elite were more proud of their beautiful structure than the God who allowed them to serve inside of it.

Jesus had been teaching them some very important lessons about faith, giving, the resurrection and who He really is; but they are distracted by the “majestic stonework” and “memorial decorations”

He is preparing to teach them eschatology, a very important issue for every Christian to understand.

ESCHATOLOGY:  [es cuh TOL ih gih] — a theological term that designates the study of what will happen at the end of history, particularly the event known as the SECOND COMING of Christ. The word comes from two Greek words, ‎eschatos ‎(last) and ‎logos ‎(study) – thus its definition as “the study of last things.” (Nelson’s)

We will dive off into that after our Revival services.

Right now, Jesus wants their attention; they needed to focus on Him and not the building and decorations.

How can we grow closer to God if we are not even paying attention to Him?

Telling them that everything they see will soon be completely destroyed seems like a great way to garner someone’s attention.

What in the World has captured your attention more than God?

What can so easily distract you from seeking God and listening to His Son Jesus Christ?

Sports?            Hobbies?         Facebook?       Games?           Self?                Gossip?           Backbiting?            Boasting?        Alcohol/Drugs

Stop It!

What shiny object does our eternal enemy use to pull you off a life focused on God?

STOP IT!

All of that “stuff” is so temporary and meaningless.

What are you looking at or thinking about during Sunday School, Church, Bible Study or your personal devotion time WHEN you should be completely focused on God?

Your phone?  The Clock?

Get your attention back on the King of kings and Lord of lords!

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10-8-2017                    Heart

Luke 21:1-5 “While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.  Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.  For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”   NLT

I find it interesting that this text is recorded right after Jesus tells us to “Beware of these teachers of religious law!” and one of the reasons given was that they “shamelessly cheat widows out of their property…”

These Temple Elitists would shame the small givers while smothering the big givers with praise and thanks.

Jesus FLIPS THE SCRIPT on the temple thieves yet again!

Jesus speaks of the HEART of a FAITHFUL GIVER

Our true heart is a major issue in our life

We cannot Love God and Love Others without giving…and risking our heart.

Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Deuteronomy 11:16-17 “But be careful. Don’t let your heart be deceived so that you turn away from the Lord and serve and worship other gods. If you do, the Lord ‘s anger will burn against you.”

1 Samuel 12:20 “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel reassured them. “You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him.”

  1. e poor widow gave out of her heart
    1. Her two small coins represented all she had
      1. But she wanted to give her all to God
    2. The rich people gave out of their surplus
      1. Not out of their income
      2. Not out of their faith
      3. …and you can bet they did it with flourish and an expectation of recognition
      4. You could infer here that if they had not surplus they would be giving no money
    3. Is our giving (money, time, talents, etc.) a gift of the heart?
      1. Is it about us?
        1. Are we giving EXPECTING anything?
          1. Value
          2. Special notice
        2. Is it about God?
          1. Faith
          2. Love
  • Obedience
  1. What little piece of obedience are we giving God while expecting great accolades?
    1. What are we willing to surrender to God?
      1. Funds
      2. Time
  • Self
  1. What are we UNWILLING to surrender to God?
    1. The One who created and provided everything we have
    2. What are we holding on to tightly?
  2. The poor widow gave everything she had
    1. Time
    2. Energy
    3. Faith, Hope and Love
    4. She was not forced, coerced, lied to or stolen from by the Temple Elite
      1. She gave from her faith
      2. She gave from her HEART
    5. All of her was poured out
      1. This is what God wants from us
        1. Whatever we have
        2. Whatever we are
          1. Surrender it all to Him
            1. It will be enough
            2. Even if the world thinks it is small
  • God will see it as a great gift

Priorities, Rights and Political Hay

(note:  DANGER – WORD PUKE Ahead – written quickly so grammar and spelling may not be perfect…or good…unedited)

Every time a person is murdered is a horrible crime.  This horror is multiplied inside us when we encounter events like the recent Las Vegas Shooting and other mass murders we see in our country.  These violent and horrific tragedies remind us that evil is very real and active in our midst.

Predictably a group of politicians and activists become very vocal, calling for more gun control because of these acts of evil that were inflicted through the barrel of a gun.

“Never let a tragedy go to waste” is a montra used by all sides of the political spectrum as they use a disaster or very public tragedy for their own agendas or political purposes.

But are their priorities right and consistent?

Or are they just making political hay on the heartstrings of hurting Americans?

Lets look at some rough numbers and see:

According to the CDC, every year approximately 88,000 Americans lose their lives due to alcohol, and 2.5 Million years of life are lost.  241 deaths per day due to a product that is not Constitutionally protected and is not a necessity for life.  Where is the outcry by our politicians and activists?  Maybe, just maybe, the 26 Million plus dollars of lobbyist money helps keep them quiet….or maybe we are just addicted to our alcohol.

According to the CDC, every year approximately 480,000 Americans lose their lives due to tobacco products  and the survivors lose 10 years of life.  1,315 deaths per day due to a product that is not Constitutionally protected and is not a necessity for life.  Where is the outcry by our politicians and activists?  Maybe, just maybe, the 19 Million plus dollars of lobbyist money helps keep them quiet….or maybe we are just addicted to our smokes and chews.

The Pharmacy, Health Professional, Hospital and Nursing Home lobbyists spend over 5 Billion dollars every year to influence the laws and lawmakers of our country.  Maybe this is why the outcry due to the deaths of medical malpractice, medicine issues and other like issues is not shouted from the wooden podiums of congress….or maybe we just like our meds because they are easier than lifestyle changes.

Over 40,000 people died on the roads of our country in 2016, that is 110 per day.  Where is the demand for the elimination of private transportation in favor of public?  Or do we simply love our cars so much we would refuse to get rid of them, reguardless of the risks?

Every year over 900,000 American lives are thrown away by abortion, yet certain political and ideological groups fight for them and demand they be more available.  That is around 2,500 Americans trashed every day, gone for largely non medical reasons.

75 plus lives were lost in the Hurricane Harvey tragedy, where is the out cry to move people and cities off the coast 150 miles or so?

Between 2011 and 2015 an average of 1,564 people were murdered every year with a gun.  4.28 Americans every day lost their life because someone used a firearm to murder them.  Each one is a tragedy.  Every person who murdered someone by any means should be held accountable!  But, will more laws prevent evil from committing acts of evil?

Every 31 days the same number of people who were killed in Las Vegas are murdered in Chicago and they have very strict laws.

Every 15 days the same number of people who were killed in Las Vegas are murdered in California by a firearm and they have very strict gun laws.

Every 20 days the same number of people who were killed in Las Vegas are murdered in Texas by a firearm and they have less restrictive gun laws than California and Chicago.

Every life is precious and the taking of a life by murder is a horrific action.

We should raise our voice and our culture against evil and death.  We should encourage a culture of life.

But let us start with the biggest issues first, where are the largest number of Americans dying from unnecessary activities occurring?

If we look at those numbers, even quickly, it becomes obvious that our constitutionally protected firearms would be way down on our list of priorities.

We should look at tobacco, alcohol and elective abortions (not medically required) long before we begin to look at other issues.  These are not necessary, not constitutionally protected and could save millions of American lives in just a few years.

As we look at our laws, let us remember that evil can not be legislated under control.  Evil will find a way to perpetrate it’s evil plans.  Evil will seek to steal, kill and destroy; these are the nature of evil and laws will not change the nature of evil.  Evil will use firearms, knives, bats, hammers, water, rocks, sticks, pipes, food, poison, motor vehicles, fuels, explosives, statues, knick-knacks, computers, scissors, paper, rocks, ropes, heights, clothing, and; in the absence of any type of tool, bare hands to commit evil acts.  You can never outlaw evil.

Murder, conspiracy to commit murder, abuse, assault and other like forms of violence are already illegal, more laws will only add to the charges if they are caught but will never stop the evil activity.

Let us get our priorities right.

Let us take a good hard look at our rights

Let us take a good hard look at the biggest issues in America

Let us stop just making political hay out of Americas Heart strings.

9-24-2017        “Is Marriage Forever”             Luke 20:27-40

Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection – and that was SadUSee

They used the example of marriage to try to trick Him, that was the wrong thing to do FOR MANY REASONS!

  1. They should know by now that they cannot trick Jesus
    1. But, as the text says, They are posers…questioning
  2. If there is one group of people on earth that BELIEVE in the resurrection STRONGLY it is married folks!
    1. Do you remember the movie “Charlie and the chocolate factory?” The one with Gene Wilder?
      1. Every Day I feel like Charlie at the end of that movie!
        1. After some missteps on his part, Everything is falls into place
        2. His dreams have come true!
      2. I feel like that every day when I wake up and still can’t believe God blessed me with the GREATEST SPOUSE EVER!
  • Connie’s experience may differ!
  1. MYTHBUSTER: But I have news for y’all – SHOCKING
    1. I aint gonna be married to Connie forever!
    2. THAT’S RIGHT
      1. Good for me because I will be in GLORY
      2. Good for Connie because she will be in GLORY – PLUS get a break from me!!!
    3. KNOW THIS! Every boy or girl friend, every spouse, who ever looked deep into your eyes and said “I will be yours FOREVER!”  – LIED!
    4. The vows end “Till Death Do You Part” for a reason!
  2. Some, like me, don’t want to lose what we have here on earth in a Godly, loving, beautiful, intelligent, driven spouse!
    1. Some, like Co…..; well SOME – might be looking forward to a well deserved REPRIEVE!
    2. After 7 marriages I bet this poor lady in our TEXT was READY for the Resurrection!  FINALLY Indeed!
  3. Marriage is for those living in the FIRST LIFE!
    1. Life here on earth…NOW
    2. Love and be FAITHFUL to your spouse NOW!
    3. Be there for your spouse NOW!.
    4. Send her flowers NOW! Send him ammo NOW!
  4. You see, Jesus taught us that in heaven we will all be the Children of God
    1. And face it…it would be weird to be married to your sister or brother for all eternity!
  5. MYTHBUSTER: As for the resurrection IT IS REAL!
    1. Moses proved it
      1. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are all alive in eternity.
    2. Jesus let Peter, James and John see this on the Mount of Trasfiguration recorded in Matthew 17 when Moses and Elijah appeared to them.
      1. This also answers one of the Questions from our Wednesday Night survey “Will we recognize our family when we get to heaven?”
      2. Apparently so BUT they will not be our spouses, children, grandparents, parents, Uncles, etc – They will be our Brothers and Sisters.
    3. Jesus taught and modeled resurrection
      1. Matthew 28….. You will remember ‘Early Sunday Morning”….and…”He aint here!  He is RISEN!”
      2. Mark 16 – Jesus was “Taken Up Into Heaven”
    4. Take heart – SECOND LIFE…ETERNAL LIFE…THE RESURRECTED LIFE is coming
      1. Earthbound relationships are for here on earth
      2. Heaven Bound relationships are forever
      3. It is worth the wait (Marriage and Resurrection)
        1. No more death
        2. Live forever as Gods Children
      4. If you are worthy
    5. ARE YOU WORTHY
      1. John 1:10-13 “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”

9-10-2017        Patriot

September 11th Timeline

Review of the Victims

Prayer

Monday is Patriots Day

Not patriotic day

There is a difference

There is a different between being a patriot and being patriotic.

Both can love their country.

Both can bear the colors

Both can go to parades and wave the flag

But, it is the patriot that is willing to apply their blood, sweat and tears into the country they love.

John 15:12-13   “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”   NLT

Patriotic Folk talk

True Patriots people put action to their words

More than 1.2 Million men and women have died in service to the United States

6915 USA military have died in the global war on terror

These are patriots

On September 11th, 2001 2,977 people were murdered by terrorist on our shores.

Some were true patriots

Some were patriotic Americans

Some were not.

Some were seeking to destroy our country.

Patriots Serve and Patriots Submit

Patriots do the hard and sometimes horrible work of their country

Patriots Bleed and Patriots sometimes die

Patriots do the work 99.4% will not do

  • Yes, only 0.4% of Americans are now serving in the uniform of the American Military
  • Yes, only 2% of those alive today are or have served under our American Flag

There is a difference between being a Christian and being  Religious

Both can go to church

Both can wear crosses and carry Bibles

Both can attend revivals and Covered Dish

But, it is the Christian that is willing to apply their blood, sweat and tears in faithFULL obedience to their Lord.

One loves their religion and may try hard to BE GOOD

The Christian loves their Lord and their neighbors.

The religious ones will seek to use their religion for their benefit

The Christian will seek to be used by God for His benefit

The religious talk

The real Christian SOLDIERS put ACTION to their WORDS

Real Christians Serve AND Submit

Real Christians do the hard work of a Faithful and obedient ministry

Real Christians get dirty

Real Christians sweat and bleed

Real Christians sometimes die.  We call the martyrs.

Real Christians do the vast majority of the Kingdom Work

A true percentage is not known

Is it the 0.4% like the military?   MAYBE

I prefer the 10/80/10 theory in most organizations

But others have told me I am too positive

What I do know is that every day we will come across:

A few TRUE Christians

Many Religious Folks – trying to be good/do their best but lost       Many folks who are lost and wandering with no idea

Many more who seek to tear down Christianity

Those who are a THREAT

This is why we are CALLED INTO SERVICE!

THERE IS SOME FIGHTING TO DO!

 2 Timothy 2:3-5 “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.”

1 Samuel 17:45 “David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord  of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”   NLT

Not against Flesh and Blood

Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

We Fight AGAINST Evil

We fight FOR PEOPLE!

Love God more than they love the world

  • Seek ways to serve
  • Pray and GO!

Be a TRUE CHRISTIAN Patriot

Be an active, fervent, vital part of God’s Work

Seeking God and a Closer Walk of humble service CAN CHANGE OUR WORLD

2 Chronicles 7:13-16 “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.”

The TRUE Christian is called to be a TRUE patriot.

These are my “notes” from last Sunday – August 13th, 2017 This is mainly the text used and the message flowed from here.

We are a country of “different”
Different languages, histories, heritages, backgrounds, colors, political ideals, hobbies, hopes and…well most everything.

2 things connect us: We have 1 God and 1 Constitution.

Our Founders understood that we would be a nation of different when they wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,

Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Different but equal.

We have rights as Americans that are written in “The Bill of Rights”; freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to keep and bear arms, freedom from unreasonable search, …and more. These apply to EVERY American Citizen.

A simpler way to state this is that “We are Constitutionally guaranteed to be offended”
I am glad that we are not a country of 340 Million “me’s” – I think I would flee that country.

We are different.

Faith Makes Equals August 13, 2017 B

Racism, Sexism, partisan politics, …. anything that divides us and pushes us to “picks sides” against one another is sin.

James 2:8-10 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” ESV

We need to understand that EVIL is real and VERY ACTIVE in our world right now.

John 10:7-12 “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” ESV
The Battle is against EVIL,not PEOPLE/The battle is bigger than people
Ephesians 6:10-20 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” ESV

RESIST to temptation to attack and assault people

James 4:6-9 “Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ESV

Skin color, race, ethnicity, heritage,….irrelevant in the big picture.

FAITH HEALS. FAITH MAKES EQUALS.

Romans 10:8-13 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” ESV

Galatians 3:23-29 “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” ESV

It may sound like the catch phrase of the biggest snowflake hippy you know BUT: LOVE IS THE ANSWER!

1 John 4:8-10 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” ESV

August 20        Luke 19:45-48             Purpose

This text speaks about the priority and purpose of the local church.

First Baptist has a purpose statement.  Anyone like to try to recite it from memory?

The Purpose of our church is to be the presence of Christ in our community and the World through Worship, Ministry, Evangelism, Fellowship and Discipleship.

We cannot properly and obediently fulfill our PURPOSE if we never seek our Kings instruction, guidance and correction!

We must become a house of prayer, preparation and listening intently.

  • Reality: To fulfill our purpose as a church we must gather as a church
    • The police “10 Codes” are fairly well known
      • 10-2 – Signal Good
      • 10-4 – OK
      • 10-25 – Meet in person (face to face)
    • Hebrews 10:23-25 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  ESV
    • Reality: By this standard, Wednesday Nights SHOULD BE the biggest attendance night of the week!
      • It is not that we do not pray at our other services, we certainly do
      • Wednesday night is the time we set aside for the church family to gather together and join in one accord as we lift up prayer requests and praises to our King.
      • This is a time of seeking God and supporting each other THEN move into Bible Study.

If we truly were about seeking God

If we truly wanted to hear from Him

If we truly believed He hears our prayer

If we believe that He meant it when He told us to not neglect the gathering of ourselves together as His Children  (Hebrews 10:25)

If we believe that there is power in the gathering together of believers   (Acts:2:40 – 47)

  • Priority of prayer
    • The power of a church is not in the foolishness of preaching
    • The power of the church is not in a denomination or the paperwork
    • The full power of the church is not in the people
  • The power of the church resides in the Lord
    • who designed it,
    • called it,
    • empowers it and
    • uses it to build men and women of faith to serve Him through
  • Prayer is our communication “data port” with God
  • Priority of teaching and learning
    • We call this discipleship
    • We call this Spiritual growth
    • We call this spiritual formation
      • Corporately we do this on Sunday Mornings at 10 AM
      • Corporately we do this Sunday Morning at 11 AM
      • Corporately we do this Wednesday Evening at 6:30 PM
      • Corporately we do this at VBS
      • Corporately we do this at Revival Services
      • Individually we should be about this in our homes, at our workplaces and in our community.
    • Priority of focus/paying attention
    • For our praying and learning to be effective there is one more PRIORITY we can learn from this text:
      • The Priority of Listening INTENTLY
    • Church is participatory
    • Be there
    • Be involved
    • Be focused