January 2015


Luke 3:1 – 14              “Git “Er Done”

  1. God is Coming
    1. The Day of the Lord is at Hand
    2. “The axe is laid to the root of the trees”
  2. God ain’t happy
    1. We have messed up
    2. We ALL have sinned – We are sinners
    3. We need to understand our REALITY
  3. God is giving us an opportunity/a Chance to CHANGE
    1. He has sent messengers to bring this message
      1. “Prepare the way of the Lord”
    2. He has given His Word to bring this warning
    3. He has put the knowledge of Himself inside you
      1. So there can be no excuses
    4. Whether you are a tax collector, a soldier or another part of the crowd
      1. EVERYONE has areas of spiritual failure our lives
        1. We have areas where we fall WAY short of what God expects
        2. We have weak areas
        3. We fall short of God’s Word, God’s Will and Gods Plan for us
      2. GIT ‘ER DONE – FIX IT NOW
        1. The real issue is that WE DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE
          1. We would rather make excuses
            1. “But My Family has been part of this church for decades”
            2. But, I have always God to Church…”
            3. But, God is a loving God and He made me, why should I change…”
            4. But, the DOG ate my repentance…”
          2. God is neither fooled or swayed by our excuses
        2. The need to change something should not be frightening or ignored
        3. We all have things in our life that need removed, changed or tuned
        4. The time to wait to change has past
        5. This is a LIMITED TIME OFFER
          1. Recognize your weaknesses, failures and sins
          2. THEN CHANGE while there is time
  • Do not let time expire without CHANGING TO JESUS
  1. Don’t waste any more time on self – GET MORE JESUS
  1. No Excuses
    1. You CAN and MUST change
    2. There is no eternal life without a repented change
      1. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
    3. If God can change OLD, HARD ROCKS He can change you!
    4. DO not make God change ROCKS
      1. LET HIM CHANGE YOU!
    5. LET HIM
    6. Turn to God and away from self
      1. More of Him and less of you
      2. NOW! Go!        What are you waiting for?
    7. The way of the Lord is prepared
      1. Will You Walk in His path?
    8. GIT ER DONE!

DRAFT – This is not a finished document – more of a word puke looking at a major tough topic in our world today

A real look at tough stuff

I will attempt to look at these issues from several different perspectives.  I will at least look at them from a Biblical, Constitutional and Societal outlook.

First: Homosexuality

This is a HUGE issue in our country today.  It is a “high energy” issue that brings out much emotion and anger in many people.

Biblical

Homosexuality is a sin.

Homosexuality goes against God’s plan to populate the earth that began all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  God told Adam and Eve to Multiply.

Homosexuality goes against both Old and New Testament teachings.  (Romans 1:26 – 27, Genesis 2:18 – 25, …)

To say that “Jesus never spoke about Homosexuality” is wrong – He IS The Word of God.   (John 1:14)

Homosexuality is NOT the only sin in our World; Homosexuality is only one of many, many sins.

The reality is that Homosexuality did not make the cut for the 10 Commandments, even though it is sure to have existed when Moses went up the mountain.   Adultery made this list.  Lying made the cut, as did murder, idolatry and greed.   (Exodus 20)

But, sin is sin.  Humanity may have various levels of sin but God does not see our sins on a “sliding scale” of justice.  Sin is sin.

Why do the “Religious” seek to attack the homosexual community with such zeal?  I have thought and pondered long about this.  These churches do not address or attack greed, gossip or gluttony with the same energy and they are also sins.

Perhaps it is because they are hiding something they hope to keep hidden by these attacks?

The reality is that every church member, deacon, elder, Rabbi, Priest and Pastor is a sinner.  We have ALL fallen short of the glory of God; we have all MISSED the target God set for us.

We do not like to point out our failings, so we point out the failings of others so we can feel all warm and fuzzy by our “righteous indignation” while our lead Deacon is an alcoholic, the WMU leader is a violent gossip and our Leader treats his family worse than dogs.

There is a reason God told us to be concerned about the log in our own eye before we start pointing at the splinter in someone else’s eye.

Some Pastors find it “safer” to harp on and on about sins their congregation find ok to hear condemned. instead of addressing the sins they, or their congregation,  have found “palatable” and wish to continue living.

Many pastors know that their continued employment depends on keeping the “ruling class” of their church happy.  In doing this they forget their True Ruler; but’ family finances do have an impact on the decisions made by the Pastor.  This works both ways.  The pastor knows what issues to tread lightly on, which ones to push aside completely and which ones are “safe” to pound on hard.

Those who use the Word of God to attack are using God’s Word wrongly.  Sharing the Message of God with Love is both approved by God and expected of His people.  We do not have permission to pick and choose what we preach from God’s Word.  (Revelation 22:18 – 21, Hebrews 4:11 – 13, Colossians 1:24 – 29, 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17))

We are commanded to love.  (Matthew 22:34 – 40)

We are commanded to follow the Word of God.  Jesus Himself saved His attacks for the religious elite and temple terrorists.  They were rebuked, driven out of the temple and called a brood of vipers.

To the sinners He is Salvation and hope.  To the woman caught in adultery He was forgiveness, kindness and direction.  To the woman at the well He was restoration and hope.  To the tax collector he was forgiveness and salvation.

Yes, homosexuality is sin, one of many.

God can forgive and restore the homosexual, the adulterer and the violent; if we will repent and receive His gift of salvation.

The question then arises:  “Can a homosexual be a Christian?”

Salvation is not dependent on our cleansing ourselves before we come to God.  Salvation is received by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone.

No sinner can cleanse themselves.  Our part is to understand our need for God and it is His Spirit that brings this awakening.  (Matthew 5:3)

God is not fooled, He knows our sins.  He also knows, and has told us He knows, that we are all sinners and salvation may wash away our sins but we continue to live in bodies of flesh and a fallen world.

There is a process in Christian’s life called “Sanctification.”  This is a process in which the Christian is “being made holy.”   Through this process God makes us aware of our sins and guides us through repentance and restoration.  Our parts submission to God’s authority as our Lord and we move closer and closer to Him.

The reality is also that this is a lifelong process that is never complete on this earthly realm.  For so long as we carry flesh we carry sin.  We will continue to disappoint God as long as we breathe earth’s air; we just strive to disappoint Him less and less each day.

We will remain sinners until we die and are translated into a completely new creation, shed of the flesh and its earthly disease of sin.  No sin (darkness) will enter heaven. None.  Jesus is the only way to the Father and His house.  These are not my words or rules; these are God’s rules – His plan as outlines in His Word.

Another simple reality is that a homosexual is no threat to my faith or my heterosexuality.

I have to answer to God for what I do and say; for who I am as one of His kids.  I do not have to answer for others, only that I was faithful in sharing the Gospel and loving others.  I must treat others the way I want to be treated; even if they do not agree with either me, my church or my Lord.

Constitutional

The issue of gay marriage and whether or not it is constitutional is the current battlefield of this long debate.

Constitutionally speaking, this is NOT a Federal Issue; it is a State issue.

The Constitution starts out with a great statement:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 

Yes, it is for the People of the United States.  It has a purpose of establishing Justice, insuring domestic (homeland) tranquility, provide for our defense, promote our general welfare and to secure the blessings of Liberty.

Justice, peace, protection and freedom.

The constitution, unlike the Bible, says nothing about homosexuality or marriage.

The 12th amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” 

Again, I am pretty sure that there were homosexuals in the colonies and our founders were aware of their existence.  Maybe they thought that gay marriage was too bizarre a concept for a Bible believing people to ever consider or allow.  Or maybe they had bigger issues to address.  Whatever they were thinking, they did not include homosexuality or marriage in the Constitution.

The Constitution itself states that the issue of Homosexual marriage is a state issue or it should be put to a vote of the people.  Neither the legislative, judicial or executive branch of our federal government has a constitution right to regulate marriage of any kind.

If California legalizes Gay marriage then they should be able to do so for their state. I guess a state could vote to deny all forms of marriage if it chose to and could pass that law.  If Texas chooses to not allow or recognize Gay Marriage then they should be able to do so for their state.

The only way to “nationalize marriage” is to hold a national vote on the issue.  The problem with that, and the State’s responsibility is that future elections could change the will of the state or nation. Elections can swing either way and state politicians are elected for terms and may not be re-elected.  That is the reality of the process.

The proper thing may be to remove government from marriage altogether.  The act of marriage and the required service is not in the constitution.

State/local government could be involved in civil unions or contractual relationships for tax and/or legal issues of concern to the state.

Clergy could be involved in preforming marriages in keeping with their faith and belief system, separate from the legal filing of the state.

The very root of our country is freedom.   The Preamble to our Declaration of Independence states:   “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

Our Founders believed that we are a nation of equals with God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We are not guaranteed happiness; but we are all free to pursue happiness.

What we do have constitutionally is the freedom of speech.  We have the right to state our beliefs as do those who disagree with our beliefs.

What we do have constitutionally is our freedom of religion.  We can believe as God (or who/what ever) leads us and as long as we do no harm we are protected.

First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

This is NOT a freedom FROM religion, it is the freedom OF religion.  It is not the separation of church and state beyond the requirement of the government to not limit our religious freedom.  There shall be no state sponsored religion, our Founders left Britain for freedom of religion.

The Constitution is a good thing for our country, if we abide in it as written.  Many of our problems arise when we try to make it same and do things for which it was never designed.

Societal

We live in a nation of different.  California is different than Texas which is different that West Virginia.  We are a mixing pot of races, colors, attitudes, faiths and beliefs.  We have different values, attitudes and temperaments.

We will rarely agree on anything, much less everything.

This is a good thing.

It is absolutely wrong to expect 320 plus million people to have the same belief and understanding of any issue; much less one as polarizing as gay marriage.

No one citizen or group of citizens should be allowed to bully, attack or marginalize another person or group simply because they have varying ideals..

There are homosexuals in our country.

Society will not collapse because there are gay people, even married gay people.  Homosexuality has been around much longer than our Country and may even exist after our country is gone.

You attitude or anger about their existence does not diminish their existence.  Just because you do not like or believe in something does not mean it does not exist.

If you chose to be homosexual, then be a homosexual.  This does not require parades, political action groups or protests.  You just be you.

Be a people.  Be an American.  Respect and tolerate variation and differences. For society to function a measure of tolerance is required.

You may have a belief that they are wrong and are hell bound on the express train, but still, they are here and in your community.

Tolerance does not mean approval, it means that you are able to deal with it even if you do not agree with the behavior.

I think one of the biggest causes of the sexual and racial divides in our country are those who seek to sensationalize on and profit from the fighting.   We have become too concerned with the hyphens and not with the individual.

There should not be the division of the hyphen.  No African-American, Asian-American, Mexican-American, European-American, Indian-American, Gay-American, Christian-American, Muslim-American, Jewish-American, Straight-American, and on and on.

Hyphens should not be necessary.   Discard the division.

I think we would live in a more peaceful country if we learned to actually tolerate our differences to the point that we never had to point out our differences.

Neither should the homosexual allow the thoughts or speech of another person or group of people anger them.  People will not agree with your lifestyle choices, know that and deal with it like an adult.  (NOTE:  this applies to all our choices, we as a country need to grow up and understand this reality.  Evidently many people are upset that I am a Christian and choose to attempt to live a Christian lifestyle.  I am not sure why they bear such angry energy because of my faith, but that is their choice and I am a big guy with a bigger God so I’m good)

Summary

  • Homosexuality is a sin, but it is not the only sin and is not an unforgivable sin.
  • Those who attack homosexuality, especially with violence, are violating God Word.
  • States should be allowed to fulfill their constitutional right to decide this issue for their state.
  • Christians have a constitutional right b to their faith and to speak of their faith publically.
  • Tolerance means I am not Gay, I believe the Bible stands against gay marriage and as a pastor I will not perform any wedding that is not the unity of a man and a women; but, if you have made the choice to live a homosexual lifestyle I will not attack, bully or harm you. I will love you.  I can tolerate, deal with, your lifestyle and recognize your right to choose your path and exist as an American Equal.
  • My belief should be presented but not forced; and the same applies to your beliefs.
  • These principle apply to many, many things beyond the hetro/homo – sexuality issue.

Please note that the thoughts expressed here are mine.  They may not reflect the thoughts or beliefs my church, our denomination or you. I am not an attorney and do not desire to debate the constitution or how others have interpreted the laws and constitution of our land.  You may not agree or like what I have wrote; ok, you are allowed to disagree.  Maybe if we all took the time to work through these issues with great thought, great faith and an openness to listen our world could be a better place.

Growing Pains  – Growing Like Jesus       Luke 2:51-52

Luke 2:51-52 “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”   ESV

Verse 51 – It is important to note, that although Jesus did express some independence in His commitment to His Heavenly Father, He did not become a smart mouthed rebellious twelve-year-old!

Jesus did not LOOK DOWN against the MERE HUMANS who His Father chose to raise Him!     Neither should we.

Luke quickly shows us that Jesus stayed in submission to His parents.  As kids and teens begin to express their independence, it is IMPORTANT that we do not enter into REBELLION and DISOBEDIENCE.

YOU COULD EVEN LEARN SOMETHING from them!

After all, chances are they have already made the same mistakes you are about to make and can spare you the negative consequences they could not avoid.

Honor, obedience and respect are still to be given to parents.

There is a little aside in this verse. Note that Mary “kept all these sayings in her heart.” Also look at Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  ESV

I believe that these remembrances of Jesus birth and early years may have come from Mary. Luke was an historian, not a mother.

I think Luke did His homework and asked Mary about the childhood of Jesus. Mary, who remembered, shared what had happened.

A child can bring much joy to a parents heart by living there life right before God, bringing honor to God and their parents.

Verse 52 – Now we see that there was a normal process of development for our Lord. He grew in four areas that everyone of us should grow in.

HE GREW INTELLECTUALLY – wisdom

            Jesus went to school

Jesus went to Church/Sunday School

Jesus LEARNED stuff

He didn’t skip class

He did not backtalk His teacher

He knew the importance of and the gift of education

                        Learning is part of growing

HE GREW PHYSICALLY – stature

            He was born a Baby – tiny, tiny baby

He did not stay that way – He grew up – like they tend to do

He worked hard – chores, trade

These were harder times. No gas weed eaters or dishwashers

He played – outside…in the streets and fields and groves

Jesus did not lay on the couch playing video games or watching GLEE

Playing and imagining is part of growing

HE GREW SPIRITUALLY – favor with God

            He went to Church

He listened to His Sunday School teachers and His Pastor

He asked questions

He read the scripture even though HE IS THE WORD

He lived His Father’s Word

            Getting closer to God is part of growing

HE GREW SOCIALLY – favor with man

           love 2

Would Jesus Facebook and Twitter?

We may never know

He was not a ridged fanatic – He was not “that guy”

He was not a violent zealot

He lived an ACCOUNTABLE GRACE

He lived FAITH in a REAL WORLD

Jesus liked people – HE LOVED PEOPLE

Jesus went out of His way to meet people and be with them

Jesus took the time to MEET and LISTEN to PEOPLE

JESUS LOVED PEOPLE ENOUGH TO SHARE HIS LOVE WITH THEM AND GIVE HIS ALL FOR THEM

            Making friends and losing friends is part of growing

And we too, should GROW LIKE JESUS: We should walk in the “Footsteps of Jesus”

Intellectually – Continuing to accrue the right kind of wisdom.

Physically – growing, maturing

Spiritually – Continuing to grow in grace and knowledge.

Socially – Making friends and being a good testimony.

January 11, 2015

Luke 2:41-52 “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.  And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.  After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.  And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.  And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”  ESV

  1. Family and Faith Traditions are important
    1. Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem from Bethlehem every year during Passover
    2. This trip may have only been 5.5 miles…but it was a hard trip through tough terrain with no cars, trucks or airplanes.
  2. No parents are perfect parents
    1. Hopefully, you didn’t “misplace” your kid for a few days
    2. But, all parents will make mistakes
  3. Family Vacations and Trips are important
    1. Spending time together is important
    2. Being locked into a vehicle for a few days is valuable time
    3. New adventures and exciting trips being lost is part of building the Nuclear family
      1. Well, someone exploding, anyway
    4. Sometimes everyone has to tell God they just simply blew it BIG TIME!
      1. Even the parents GOD CHOSE to watch over His Son in human form.
        1. Parents, know you are watching over a future or present child of the King
          1. God does not expect perfection
        2. At least you didn’t lose God’s Son Jesus for 3 days! THREE DAYS!
      2. Sometimes families need to stop what they are doing and attempt to find a lost family member
        1. Physically lost
        2. Mentally lost
        3. Spiritually lost
      3. Restoration requires ACCOUNTABILITY and SUBMISSION
        1. I seriously doubt Mary and Joseph were this calm and collected when they confronted Jesus about His behavior
        2. Children must obey and honor their Mother and father
        3. Even Jesus submitted to the authority of the human parents His Father had placed over Him
        4. Think about that
          1. God the Son living in submission to the mere humans HE HAD CREATED!
        5. Jesus asked them one question.
          1. Didn’t you know I would be in church? (My Fathers House)
            1. Is your family so rooted in FAITH that they know they should be in Church?
            2. Do you feel the same way as Jesus?
              1. Or are you more like Mary and Joseph who did not understand what Jesus meant.
            3. If it was right for Jesus IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU
          2. Family is important and worth protecting
            1. Don’t run away from family
              1. In Rebellion – Seeking to “go your own way” or “do your own thing”
              2. In Religious pursuits
            2. Seek restoration and submission
            3. Priorities
              1. God Spouse            Children          Family
              2. Church Then the  rest

January 4, 2015          Luke 13:6-9 “And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.  And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’  And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure.  Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'” ESV

Isaiah 43:14-28 “…..“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  ….The wild beasts will honor me, …., the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.  “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel!  You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices.  … You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.  But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.  “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; ….”ESV

How was your 2014?  How about the year after that?

So many times we are quick to destroy/cut down/leave something that isn’t doing what we want it to do.  “2015 has GOT TO BE BETTER!”

Relationships. Churches. Jobs. Locations.  Trees. Diets.   Improvements.  Many things we are quick to trash.

Maybe they just need the grace of a little time and some FERTILIZER.

Fertilizer enriches the soil.  It restores the proper Ph balance and natural nutrients that have been drained or eroded off.  If hurting soil does not get proper fertilizer it will become useless, DEAD soil.

2015 is NOT a year to give up or give in!  2015 is a year for MANURE – well…FERTILIZER.

  1. We should be fruitful for God!  “By their FRUITS you will know them…”
  2. If we are not fruitful we should examine WHY…What is missing?
  3. Ponce God reveals our NEED we should SEEK TO ADD (FERTILIZE) our life with Him!  He is what we need…and MORE OF HIM!

Enrich YOUR life with the fertilizer of:

  1. Needing God
    1. Your Redeemer
    2. The Holy One
    3. The Creator and Sustainer of the Earth
      1. WE need to COMMUNICATE with Him
      2. We need a RELATIONSHIP with Him
  • We need His LEADERSHIP
  1. We need HIM!
  1. Second Chances at Right Things
    1. How many times have you failed God?
      1. We all have – MANY, many times
      2. Tis is not about a NUMBER
        1. It is about forgiveness
        2. 2, 3 or 7 times 70 times
      3. Remember not the former things/consider the things of old”
      4. God is doing a new thing for you
        1. It is coming forward – can you feel it?
      5. Worshipping God
        1. Honor Him and Give Him Praise
          1. If you need Him TELL HIM and give Him praise
        2. Seeking God
          1. Call upon Him – PRAY
          2. Do not get tired/WEARY of God
        3. Giving
          1. Bringing your tithes and offerings to His storehouse
        4. Living a righteous life before God
          1. Do not BURDEN God with your sins
          2. STOP SINNING!
            1. AS FAST as you can after He reveals them
            2. Replace that behavior with Godly behavior
  • Try to live a RIGHTEOUS LIFE before GOD
  1. Receive what God has for you
    1. Transgressions blotted out
    2. Sins forgotten
      1. God is the Lord of SECOND CHANCES

Maybe YOU are the one God is giving a little more time to this year and is pouting our His Holy “fertilizer” upon so you can know Him more and be fruitFULL in 2015!

Fertilize your life with AND for God and PLANT A GREAT 2015