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Friday, April 22, 2011

Remember The Cross on Good Friday

"That is why Christ suffered and died. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Ephesians 1:7). Forgiveness costs us nothing. All our costly obedience is the fruit, not the root, of being forgiven. That’s why we call it grace. But it cost Jesus his life. That is why we call it just. Oh, how precious is the news that God does not hold our sins against us! And how beautiful is Christ, whose blood made it right for God to do this." John Piper 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sermon Highlights: December 12th 2010

This is the third in our Advent Series: Jesus: More than a Name (A series through the Isaiah Prophecies). Included is the outline and important points of the sermon from December 12th 2010. Those notes marked with * are interesting facts that due to time and leading of the Spirit were omitted from the sermon but may bless you. May God bless the hearer and reader of His Word.

If I were to give you a choice at being a King or Queen or being a servant to the monarchy which would you choose? Most of us would choose to be royalty and not the cleaning staff. But in a reversal of the ages, Jesus chose to serve the word and not dominate it. Matthew 20:25–28  But Jesus called them over and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the •Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,  and to give His life—a ransom for many." (HCSB) In the book of Isaiah, we continue to read about this King that will reestablish the throne of David and this King will reign forever without fear of losing power. What qualifies this King is that he is extraordinary. What qualifies this king is that he is a Suffering Servant who has earned the right to be exalted. Jesus the Messiah came to serve mankind and to save them from their sins. The way he lived his life glorified the father and provides us a life to emulate now until it is our turn to return home to heaven. In Isaiah 53 there are 4 qualities that make this servant greater than any king.

1. He is a Servant who is Shunned by the World (vs. 1-3)

This servant was a nobody to the world. The scripture described him as someone who could walk down the street and no one would notice. Verse 2 describes him as a tender shoot. He was just like a root or sprout out of the ground that has no form or anything special about it. Some roots and sprouts you could mistake for a weed and get rid of it you miss the beauty. As did those who despised and hated Jesus. They couldn't stand his talk of free gift of forgiveness. The religious leaders and their extra rules and pious behavior would account for nothing and here this carpenter's son is saying he is God and can forgive sins. But it wasn't just religious leaders. The people of his town hated him and wanted to stone him. His family thought he was crazy and wanted him to come home so he wouldn't embarrass them. When Jesus was serving the world there were very few appreciative of him. In fact they accused him with lies beat him and nailed him to a cross. As you choose to serve and follow Jesus please do not think you will win a lot of popularity contests. People will not pat you on the back and say "I am so glad you are standing up for biblical beliefs and high morals. They will probably say, "Go away you are narrow minded, exclusive and backward. Let me live my life how I want to."Matthew 10:22  You will be hated by everyone because of My name.  But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. Jesus was hated, so why do we think we deserve a different path? We must put on our Spiritual armor because the world and the evil one is going to attack you and hate you because you love Jesus.

2. He is a Servant who Stands in our Place (vs. 4-6)

You know we never like to take blame for what we have done wrong. You accidentally break something in the house. Who did this? You answer: "The dog". We don't like taking the punishment for our own faults we certainly wouldn't emulate the servant's life in this passage. He actually took the punishment for someone else's wrongdoings. Even though Israel did not recognize this servant this servant was ready to go to bat for Israel and for us. Read words of vs. 6-7. He borne (took up) our grief (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains).We esteemed (reckoned, considered) Him stricken. "Stricken" is sometimes associated with the disease of leprosy. Here Jesus was stricken with the disease of Sin. Jesus also took the punishment of our sins for us.Everything we brought on ourselves he said "My bad, I will take the punishment" He was wounded – (pierced through) for our transgressions (rebellions), bruised –(crushed, broke into pieces, pulverized, ground into dust) for our iniquities. 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Jesus was our bodily substitute for all of our sins.
When asked who killed Jesus, I could pass a mirror around and each one of us here today could say "I did" Because of the Holiness of God our sin is punishable only by death and Hell. But God's love sent us Jesus and with the servant bearing our iniquities. If you repent and receive the gift of Jesus you will be forgiven forever. You will actually avoid the dreaded second death in a lake of fire. The servant took your punishment.

*We should emulate Jesus that he was willing to take our place though we didn't deserve it. There are family members and even coworkers that we should stand in the gap for. We should be quick to help them through a tough spot, take the blame for their mistake if it would minister to them, and think of ways to teach/encourage them instead of punishing them. The word say. "Lie in the bed you make," if that person made a wrong choice they get what they deserve. Jesus says "I took the world's punishment and they didn't seserve it" How are ways that you can show mercy to people around you this week?

3. He is a Servant who is Submissive to God's Plan (7-9)

This servant Jesus also showed what it meant to be in perfect submission of the father. VS 7 says that he was afflicted and was led like a lamb to the slaughter not once opening his mouth. Peter saw this first hand. Peter wanted to fight the dudes coming to get Jesus and Jesus rebuked him. Healed the soldier's ear and then went to face humiliation and death. 1 Peter 2:21–23 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. 22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; 23 when reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One who judges justly.
I am going to say something crazy: Jesus did open his mouth. He prayed in the Garden. He prayed as God revealed to him the torture that would come he listened and then Asked, "If there is any other way for this cup to pass me." In other words God do you have another option. Knowing clearly that God's plan included him dying on the cross, Jesus answered "Thy Will be done." Jesus the Son submitted to the Father's plan and did not go half heartedly, but he went without fighting. He showed to us what true submission looks like. We acknowledge God's sovereignty in our lives and when he says move or change jobs, or share Christ with our neighbor, or go to this school, don't date this person. Then we are to submit and obey. We hem and haw, and say "maybe we didn't hear you right," let me pray about it more, let me do a straw poll of my friends, or we just ignore it. But church, Jesus the perfect servant submitted without a word and should teach us to JUST DO IT!!!! As the perfect servant obeyed the Father those of us who Paul calls "Slaves of God" Should completely submit as well.

4. He is a Servant who's Success is Great and Eternal (10-12)

In verse 12 we are taught that because of his service God will greatly reward him. His portion will be great. The picture here is that of a victory parade with the Servant marching out front in the role of conqueror, bringing home the spoils of battle. He will be able to split the booty of his reward with all. Why did Christ receive such a high reward? Because He poured out His soul unto death. · He was numbered (listed) with sinners. · He bore the sin of many. · He made intercession for the transgressors. He died not just with sinners. He died for sinners. Church should our soul not be stirred? Should we not fall to our knees to worship? Should we not plunge deep in love with this servant this Jesus? That though he was a baby he is God in human form that he could have called down the stars upon his enemies but he didn't. He being more than a Man but had royal lineage could have mounted forces to reclaim the Kingdom wiped out the governments and started his rule right away? But NO he then set himself aside and did what was right for all and took the sins of the world. He became the substitutionary atonement for our lives and died in our place in the ultimate act of service. He died for you. Because of this service, because of this humility and love God highly exalts him. Philippians 2:9–11 For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth — 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do you? Do you exalt him with your life and hearts? Have you asked him to be your savior? Do you daily run to him in obedience because he saved you from hell? Oh church I don't know about you but I am glad Jesus was more than a King, in serving the world he saved me from Sin.

*I love Keith and Kristen Getty and their ministry of modern hymn writing. Their words are deep in biblical theology and uplifting as it moves my heart. Check out their stuff at www. Gettymusic.com. But in reflection of this passage watch this song which is a favorite of mine: "The Power of the Cross." I weep every time I hear it. What power there is in the cross, oh what love that draws us there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGCISQQ7Zo


 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sermon Highlights 12-5-2010

This is the second in our Advent Series: Jesus: More than a Name (A series through the Isaiah Prophecies). Included is the outline and important points of the sermon from November 28th 2010. Those notes marked with * are interesting facts that due to time and leading of the Spirit were omitted from the sermon but may bless you. May God bless the hearer and reader of His Word.

More than a Man

Isaiah 9:2-7


 

Jesus was way more than just an average Joe. As a matter of fact even Isaiah prophesied that he would be more than a man.

IN approximately 725 B.C. The northern kingdom of Israel faced an ominous and perilous situation from the north an evil and aggressive Assyrian empire was growing and expanding. Israel would be sacked, overrun, and crushed in humiliating defeat.
Loved ones would be brutally killed.
Families would be broken up and destroyed.
The land would be devastated/economic havoc would be rampant!
The once proud nation would be brought to its knees in shame, humiliation and judgment. And YET! In the midst of their despair and hopelessness they receive a word from God, a word from heaven.
The Gloom of v.1 would turn to the Rejoicing of v. 3.
The Distress of v.1 would turn to the Joy of v. 3.
The Oppression of v. 1 would turn to a Broken Yoke in v. 3.
The Darkness of v. 2 would turn to the Light of v. 2.
The Shadow of Death of v. 2 would be Overcome in v. 6. How? God reveals through Isaiah that a future King that will set things in order. A king as we see in ver. 5-7 a Man who will fully establish the Davidic Covenant a King that would establish the throne forever, that the government would be placed in his care, and that peace and prosperity would arrive. Who is this King? We know it's why we are here. It's why there is Christmas. Jesus was who Isaiah prophesied about. Jesus is more than a man, he is a Majestic King! He rules and waits from heaven and one day he will return and set up an earthly kingdom in which those in Christ will help him reign and rule. But even as God prophesied through Isaiah he could use just one word to describe this King. It was a fourfold description of what this great King would be like. This passage ought to also point you to why Christ should be King of your life. He was not just a man he is not just a King but he is the perfect most wonderful king that will ever reign and rule. Therefore we must entrust our lives to him and obey him because of the great description of who he was and how he held himself. Our text points out 4 wonderful characteristics of King Jesus.

*With more than 250 names and titles of our Lord scattered from Genesis to Revelation, Isaiah brings together 4 in a tight, concise package that appear nowhere else in the Bible. More names of Messiah are crowded together here than any where else in Holy Scripture. Taken together they encapsulate the totality of the person and work of Jesus, who He is and what He does.

- Wonderful emphasizes His deity     Counselor emphasizes his humanity

- Mighty emphasizes His humanity God emphasizes His deity

- Everlasting emphasizes His deity     Father emphasizes His humanity

- Prince emphasizes His humanity     Peace emphasizes His deity

Coupled with the child born and the Son given, the result is nothing less than the God- man, Immanuel, God with us. (from Danny Akin "The King with Four Names Isaiah 9:6-7")


 

A King who guides with unfailing Wisdom


 

The text literally in the original language : A Wonder of a Counselor. He is a Wonderful Counselor He is one who gives wondrous counsel and unfailing wisdom. The word "wonderful" is never used in Scripture of what man is or has done, but only of who God is and what He does.

1 Corinthians 1:24 Yet to those who are called,  both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God's power and God's wisdom,

So you need to go to this King who guides with wisdom. This King has the knowledge to defeat the enemy, he knows the financial answers for the kingdom, and He even knows how to relate to family and friends. This King is wise. So do you go to him in prayer often? Do you go to him before the fact and not after the fact? This mighty King guides you if you will be obedient to him.


 

A King who defends like a great Warrior

Mighty God (El gibbor), "hero-God," "warrior-God." When the laws of natural science are reversed or set aside in the Old Testament we find that this MIGHTY GOD is at the center of the action. When seas rolled back, the sun stood still, the lion's jaws were stayed, three men walked in a fiery furnace and an ax head floated, this MIGHTY GOD was there. Mighty God conjures up warfare and battleground imagery. The King is a warrior God, a hero God who would fight a battle greater than Waterloo or Valley Forge, more decisive than Gettysburg or D-Day. No, the Warrior God, the Captain of our Salvation (Heb 2:10) would take the field at Calvary, engage the titan forces of sin and Satan; death, hell and the grave, and when the dust of the battle had settled, an empty tomb stands as an eternal monument to the victory of El gibbor, the Mighty God. Do you need defending right now? Don't turn to vengeance or anger. Turn to Jesus who is a mighty God who will turn all of heaven to fight for you.

         A King who loves like a compassionate Father

The King is fatherly in his love and care, fatherly in His goodness and compassion. This is His character. This is what He is to His people. He acts toward us as a father, a good father, a perfect father.

2 Corinthians 6:18 I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty. 

He is always there, never too busy, never preoccupied or disinterested in the affairs of His child. He is provider and protector, and forever. The Great King will never ignore you but always has time for you. He loves you. Do you know him? Do you have him as your father?


 

A King who comforts with a perfect Peace


 

In Luke 2:14 the angels sang to the shepherds of one who would bring peace on earth. Here in Isaiah we are told this one is the supreme giver of peace for He is the "Prince of Peace." Times of darkness, despair and death will come to an end. The boots and blood of battle will cease to be, never to appear again.

What kind of peace does He give?

1. Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith,  we have peace  with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(HCSB)

He gives peace to those who are at war with God by reconciling us to God. Through faith and faith alone in Christ we earn peace with God. Peace and rest are synonymous in scripture for being in right standing and in right relationship with God. You will be most at rest when you are in heaven with God. So bring peace to your life through the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ.         

2. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (HCSB)

When you follow King Jesus. When you are obedient to him there will be peace in your life. Not that Satan will not try to distract you because he will even more if you are following Jesus, not that people will not disappoint you because if you are following Jesus people will disappoint. Peace meaning there is no wage of conflict in your heart. You know there is good and you're at peace most when you are doing good and in God's will. The Same Jesus who calmed the seas for the disciples will calm the choppy waters of your heart. Give you clarity for decisions and behaviors for today.


 


 

Does your life look like it? Do you claim Jesus as Lord but treat him as advisor? Do you claim his citizenship but act like an ambassador of the enemy? Where is your allegiance? This Christmas, today you must admit he is more than a man he is a great King. It Demands you all your life and you pride.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sermon Highlights: November 28th 2010

This is the first in our Advent Series: Jesus: More than a Name (A series through the Isaiah Prophecies). Included is the outline and important points of the sermon from November 28th 2010. Those notes marked with * are interesting facts that due to time and leading of the Spirit were omitted from the sermon but may bless you. May God bless the hearer and reader of His Word.

More than a Baby

Isaiah 7:14

The Prophet Isaiah writing nearly 600 years before the birth of Christ was able to see across the centuries and gave us an amazingly accurate picture of the birth of the Savior. Isaiah said that the birth of Jesus would be "a sign." We find perfect harmony with this prophecy when the angels announced the birth of Christ in Luke 2:10-12, for they said, "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
God has always used signs to get the attention and deliver His message to His people. In the birth of Christ we have a sign from God. I challenge you today to consider the Christ of Christmas is more that a baby; he is s sign of the awesome nature, power and desires of God. Even dutifully religious people can miss the message of Jesus at Christmas. Do not get caught up in the materialism of Christmas and miss the Christ in which the holiday is about. You may ask "What is the birth of Jesus a sign of?" 3 things:

1. The Promised Baby is a Sign of God's Power

Isaiah prophesied that the coming Messiah would be born of a virgin. Many debate this today and scholars debate this as well. See in the Hebrew there is a different term than expected. Isaiah used the term young woman which most translate virgin. People get the hebbie geebies and say "It didn't mean Virgin" Well we are looking through 21st century lens. In that day a young woman would have described a girl in her early teens which in those days would have been 99.9% probability that she was a virgin. How do we solve this little dilemma? Scripture is always the best interpreter of scripture and what did the early church and disciples interpret Isaiah 7? The answer is in Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated "God is with us." God was to bring his messiah by birth of a woman he wasn't going to do something ordinary but extraordinary. He was going to bring a baby conceived not by man's doing but by the Holy Spirit. No one even to this day can imagine something like that happening. God literally showed off. By solidifying that the Messiah was both fully God and fully man born of a virgin God put his full power on display. This Christmas if you need a sign of God's power in your life look no further than the virgin birth. If you doubt that God clean up the mess of your life. If you have any concern if God was mighty to save and able to forgive you of your sins. Know that our God is powerful. The Same God who spoke stars into existence planted a life in the womb of a virgin. Some of us today are desperate for God's power in our lives. Pray for God to unleash his authority and his power towards you and every circumstance. If you ever doubt it remember the virgin birth.

* King Ahaz was king of Judah at the time and was an outright idolater. He had Israel and Assyria threatening to take over Judah and he wanted to strike his own deal with Assyria. This unholy alliance was against God's plan for Judah and God offered to give Ahaz a sign but Ahaz played a religious game saying he dare not tempt God. Well he should have realized that God was the one offering the sign and to refuse God was refusing true wisdom and power. Don't we do the same when God clearly speaks through his Word and to us in our prayers and we choose our own way instead of His? We are in essence denying the power of God to work in our lives. We are the ones to blame for our stubbornness and idolatry of our own hearts.

*The Hebrew term Almah is used in the original text which is translated "virgin". Almah is more often translated "maid or young lady". Betulah is the term unusually reserved for meaning "virgin". However, Almah is still translated correctly because 600-500BC a young girl in in her early teens would have 99.9% of the time been a virgin. Therefore there is no mistake in scripture understanding this as being a prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Jesus.

2. The Promised Baby is a Sign of God's Love

God wanted to display his love for us and he sent us a gift. He thought and thought and the best thing he could send was himself. The text talks about Immanuel would be the name of the child. Thankfully they translated for us and we find that it means "God with us." Think of how God would display himself among his people. In pillars of fire, in the burning bush, in a cloud on a mountain top. In a different and better way God the Son took human form. John described it that he came to dwell among us. God displayed his love by coming to be with us and live with us. He came and experienced the same hurt, pain, stress, strain, tired bodies as we have to live with. But God also came to restore a relationship that was broken. God came on a rescue mission wrapping himself in the flesh to come and save us from our sins. Our sins separate us from God plus they weigh us down and defeat us. But God being rich in mercy sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for the punishment of our sins. Three days later he rose from the grave giving victory over sins and death and a new life to live. Philippians 2:6–8 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.  The Virgin birth shows that God is not an absent God but a present God. When we need him he is there. When we are overwhelmed he is there to strengthen us up. He is there to love and protect us. How do we know because he came, Immanuel God with us? He lived he died and still lives with us today.

*Having God with us should move us to Praise him. Do so by listening, enjoying singing along to "God With US" by MercyMe

3. The Promised Baby is a Sign of God's Faithfulness

In scripture there are over 300 prophesies regarding the Messiah and all of them came true in the one called Jesus Christ. "In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner
applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. Stoner suggests that "we take one hundred quadrillion or 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly... Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up [that one marked silver dollar.] What chance would he have of getting the right one?" Stoner concludes, "Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man." Why is this important? Because God is a God who keeps his promises. Are you not at this hour a monument of God's faithfulness? How many temptations has he rescued you from? How many times have you been struggling to breathe because of the pressures around you and the faithfulness of God got you through and drew you closer to himself? The fact that God said that he would send a Messiah and to the very detail kept his word gives a glimpse of his majestic faithfulness. Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, ... The same God who promised a Savior promises to sustain to guide, to lead, to strengthen, to sustain and to even call you to heaven to live with him one day. We trust God with our future and our daily life because of the rock solid faithfulness of God. He said he would send a Messiah and he kept his Word.

*Isaiah prophesied this text with a meaning to Ahaz in his day and toward the future coming Messiah. Ahaz doubted the faithfulness of God and tried to win victory by himself. God was going to be faithful in protecting Judah by raising a king who worshiped him. But he was also going to raise a King that would have an everlasting dominion. We know this King to be Jesus Christ. Think of ways God has been faithful to you and spend time in Thanksgiving towards him. Remember God is faithful so we must trust him in all circumstances.

Monday, June 1, 2009

When the Church Comes Together

I was reminded yesterday that when the Church comes together for a common cause great things happen. We hosted a block party at church yesterday in an opportunity to just love on our community. There was an excitement in the air. There was something different about the event that made people say "Wow! I had a great time!" But it wasn't the 544 people (even though that was great), it wasn't Stone Canyon Band (though they were awesome and I would recommend to anyone), it wasn't the food or the blow ups. I truly believe the excitement was due to something else, something bigger. I believe it was the 55+ people that gave anywhere from 1 to 4 hours of their Sunday afternoon volunteering to show the community that Jesus loves them. The body of Christ is most glorified when it is unified and Sunday afternoon WE WERE UNIFIED TO LOVE ON PEOPLE! There was excitement because we were living and serving and being a unified, missional-minded church. I loved watching church members invest in the lives of total strangers. I loved watching senior adults share life with 20something single mom's. I loved watching volunteers sweat, laugh, give, and serve. There were different ages, races, and sexes. What a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like one day! Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Aren't we supposed to love people and tell them that Christ loved them first? I loved Sunday! And to the church of Preston Oaks, Thanks for being the unified body of Christ that served people to show them that Jesus loves them! When the Church comes together; you better watch out! Jesus will show up in a BIG WAY! I pray that we never tire of it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

24 and Forgiveness

I am a Huge fan of the show “24”. Jack Bauer is awesome! Did you know that Jack Bauer once lost reception on his cell phone. 24 hours later AT&T announced that it would have more bars in more places? And of course, if everyone listened to Jack Bauer, the show would be called 12. On the Season Finale of Season 7, there was an interesting dialogue that I could not ignore. During the season Jack had been exposed to a biological weapon which attacked his nervous system. As a matter of fact, the season ends with Jack’s life in the balance. Jack called in an Imam, a Muslim priest of a local Mosque, to talk to about what he was feeling as he faced death. The Imam encouraged Jack to be at peace because he is forgiven. Jack says that with everything he has done he cannot be forgiven. Here is where I paused the DVR and shook my head. The Imam said “Let’s stop together and forgive ourselves” and then he closed his eyes in prayer. I have two reactions to this Hollywood confusion of forgiveness.
First, the writers made a classic mistake by confusing the removal of guilt verses forgiveness. Guilt is our own inner feeling of remorse for something we have done. Jack was looking for something to remove his guilt for all the people he has killed and cursing problem. The Imam was looking to provide forgiveness, or the pardon of all punishment due to his evil acts. Unfortunately, the Imam cannot grant forgiveness nor can we forgive ourselves as they try to do. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Forgiveness does not come from the removal of guilt, nor by us forgiving ourselves. Only Christ who gives forgiveness can remove guilt; the first destroys the latter.
Secondly, I wish forgiveness came as easy as the Imam told Jack. “Just forgive ourselves”The book of Hebrews points out that forgiveness is hard and costly. “ all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”(9:22) Who shed their blood to forgive us? Jesus, God in the flesh, lived a perfect life and then died a sinner’s death by dying on a cross. By His death he paid the penalty for our sins satisfying a Just God and granting us true forgiveness. Amen and Amen!
Maybe you feel guilty for something in your past. Maybe you feel there is no hope in sight to remove the pain you feel. Look to Jesus, repent and believe in Him. In Him you will receive pardon. When God forgives you it will be easier to remove the guilt (or forgive yourself). The Bible Promises: ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 (emphasis mine) Don’t get me wrong, I will watch Jack next year. But I think we should make sure we remember where we find forgiveness. “O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!” Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Good Gosh Jim, I'm a Pastor not a Blogger"

If I were Bones on Star Trek these may be my very words tonight. I honestly do not know what I am doing with a blog. But here I am climbing my own personal Mount Everest and beginning something God wanted me to do for a while now: a blog. Not ONLY A BLOG, but I am aiming for the Technological Trinity (TT) all by Memorial Day. "The TT?" You might ask? Yes, the TT: The Blog, Facebook, and Twitter. All in the same year I began ... an Ipod Touch?!?!? AHHHHHHHH!!!! Yes, I know for someone so young to be so behind on these things could be embarrassing. Ok it is. Why now? Honestly, it is because I have a lot of free time. Yeah Right! I am a pastor. I think I logged 75 hours last week. I have almost enough time to get everything I need to get done to spend a little time with Sarah and Jeter (my dog) and catch a few shows on the DVR before I kill over at night. I really started this trek into technology because I wanted to practice what I preach and live what I believe. At Preston Oaks, I have challenged our Sunday School to be the place where we Encourage each other through life. So I hope all this connection through technology will encourage someone, somewhere. The Bible is very clear that we are not to be alone. That is why graciously God gave us our spouses and the church. Our spouses complement us and together we make God's design for the family. In the church, we are together to use our gifts and to encourage each other and hold each other accountable. I also hope to Engage the World with the Gospel. So I hope that I meet new people and connect to old friends so that they can hear about how Jesus changed my life and how much God loves them. These platforms help me do this very quick and efficient. So as we continue, I will bring thoughts God is laying on my heart, I will share some quotes or links from other good blogs or books, I will share just fun stories from the day, or I may rant about sports (ladies beware!) So be patient as I get into a good schedule and feel may way through. I pray that this will be edifying for all! (or some, or anyone)