Strange Things

Acts 17:16-20, “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.”

Can any of you think back to the first time you heard the gospel and what you thought?

Our generation was the last generation that most of us on a Sunday attended service with any regularity. The Gen X kids seem to have very little knowledge of Gods word which seems to be fulfillment of Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”

Have any of you ever seen when Jay Leno would go on the streets and ask questions of people and some of the bazaar answers he would get?

This was a series of questions asked of group of 12 college bible students with the first question of “What was the occupation of Matthew before he followed Jesus?” ½ gave the wrong answer as some said he was a fisherman. Another question was, “What is the shortest book in the NT?” many answered Jude but it is 3John, another question was, “What was the Apostle Paul’s occupation?” one said he was a killer of Christians, and still another was is they could name just 7 of the 12 original disciples? With only one being able to name 7.

When many of us in here were growing up we didn’t have any issues with such as Moses crossing the Red Sea, David in the giant Goliath, The Virgin birth or  The Resurrection.

To many of those out in the world today they would tell you that these are “Strange Things”

I didn’t have any issues with any of these things but If I was to be honest there were many times when I first heard of something that was in the word of God, that I to said those are “Strange Things”.

I never heard of the rapture until I read a book by Hal Lindsey called “The Late Great Planet Earth” to me it was a “Strange Thing”. With that I fist heard of “The Mark of the Beast”, that there would be a “New Heaven and a New Earth” someday. “Strange Things” indeed.

Rom 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”       

I had read the bible several times but still found and heard “Strange Things”, I remember the first time I had overheard someone talking about “Speaking in tongues”. Well, I was just like those in Acts 2:12-13, “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.” 

Many speakers of that time claimed tongues was only for the first believers and I even heard one say it was of the devil not God. There is some bad teaching out in our world today and we have to be not fearful in calling it out. We need to be faithful in what we tell others to be true the infallible word of God and be careful to not put our fallible opinions in. We also as hearers need to verify what we are being told with the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When I heard tongues explained to me in the context of the book of Acts and Acts 2:38

The Jewish people had everything they needed to become Born Again but had one issue. Romans 9:30-33, “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” The law was a stumbling block to truth for faith was a “Strange Thing” to the learned Jew of the day.

Romans 10:16-17, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We have an obligation to tell others of the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but don’t be shocked by the response of what you are saying is a “Strange Things”. You may need to explain things slower than how you had received the salvation message because you had some faith in the word of God already.          

As Paul continued ministering to them with “Strange Things” look what happens Act 17:29-34, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” Never be fearful to use your testimony as a step to share the gospel, it may sound as “Strange Things” but it may what strikes a cord in the heart of the hearer!

Picture care of; clipground.com

This Life isn’t Always Wonderful but a Wonderful life it IS!

I won’t take it for granted that everyone has seen, “It’s A Wonderful life” but it is a classic that even after watching it many times I find myself tearing up at certain sections of the movie. Who hasn’t wiped a tear off his or her cheek when Clarence gets his wings! It’s a story of how your life is so important to others no matter how you sometimes feel you had failed and you have no idea what effect you had on others’ lives.

We can at times feel that his life is too difficult, too tragic, or too sorrowful to continue on.

Ephesians 5:15-16, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

I recently listened to Matthew Wests new song, “Wonderful Life” which gave me the title for this message.

Ron from Houston, Texas, Spent three years fightin’ ALS

If you knew all that he’s been through, You’d hardly say he’s blessed

But smilin’ through a phone call, He said “Let me tell you, friend

This life ain’t always wonderful, But what a wonderful life it’s been”

It’ll send you flyin’ high, It’ll bring you to your knees

It’s the heartbreak and the happiness, And everything between

It’s the laugh until it hurts, It’s the hurt until you cry

Can’t have one without the other, It’s how you know that you’re alive

In this broken and beautiful, Gone mad and magical, Awfully wonderful life

It’s a mountain and a valley, It’s a cradle and a grave

It’s a blessing and a battle, And it’s on any given day

It’s messy and imperfect, It’s a thief and it’s a gift

Yeah, this life ain’t always wonderful, But what a wonderful life it is!

Ron went home to Jesus, Got the call the other day

I sat and cried and thought about, The words I heard him say

I know there is a Heaven, Waitin’ for us after this

This life ain’t always wonderful, But this life ain’t all there is

No, this life ain’t always wonderful, But this life ain’t all there is!

My life like so many here has had some fantastic highs and some lows that if it wasn’t for Jesus in my life and the promise, He has for all of us I wouldn’t be standing here today.

Listen I don’t have all the answers but I put my life and faith in the only one who has the answers though He has that absolute right to not to let me know the answer to biggest questions we have in this world.

I do have an understanding of some things such as why are His people being martyred on a daily basis, John 15:18-19, “Jesus said that they hated, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

I can also understand the outlook we as those that have Jesus in our lives have will be different for those who don’t have or believe in Christ, Ephesians 2:10-12, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

I even know why death and suffering in is our world, Genesis 2:15-17, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” 

That doesn’t mean that I may accept those hardships with a smile on my face or without getting mad at those events that break my heart…but they will never break my spirit!

THIS LIFE INSN’T ALWAYS WONDERFUL, BUT A WONDERFUL LIFE IT’S BEEN!

In the movie “Jumanji, the Next Level”, Danny DeVito starts out as a bitter, sarcastic, old man and makes the statement to Spencer that “it doesn’t get any better” and “Getting Old Sucks?” but we get to see how the realization of how his bitterness had destroyed his relationship with Milo for so many years. He tells Spencer then that “Getting old is a gift, I forget that sometimes, but it is”

THIS LIFE INSN’T ALWAYS WONDERFUL, BUT A WONDERFUL LIFE IT’S BEEN!

Psalms 23 so completely explains the provision God has given to us when life isn’t so wonderful.

Psalms 23:1 “A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” 

THIS LIFE INSN’T ALWAYS WONDERFUL, BUT A WONDERFUL LIFE IT’S BEEN!

My view of God has changed completely over the years and not because of the good times. It’s the struggles, it’s the hurts, it’s the pain that has made me into the man of God I am today!

I have learned of Gods tremendous value He has place on each of us…

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.:

Isa 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

THIS LIFE INSN’T ALWAYS WONDERFUL, BUT A WONDERFUL LIFE IT’S BEEN!

Are You Equipped?

Ephesians 4:11-16, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

I’m going on 40 years of being saved and in those years have heard literally thousands of sermons, but if you asked me how many of them, I could quote or recall a significant amount of the message, if I were honest, I would say relatively very little.

This is not to say that a vast majority of them weren’t good or that they didn’t have impact on my life but if we were honest most sermons especially by evangelist are motivational messages.

Many times, I have been in a service that blew my mind and got me very excited to go out and change the world for Christ and the next day I got up as usual, got dressed, ate breakfast, made my lunch, went to work, put my 8 hours, then came home, and nothing happened.

So, this thought came to me, why? Then this question came, what is the purpose of the church, especially it’s leadership?

The reason for us to gather together is found in Acts 2:42, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

So, the question is, are you being equipped?  1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Are you able to defend the faith…marriage between a man and a woman?

Hebrews 6:1-3, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says in the Amplfied, “Every scripture is God-breathed given by His inspiration- and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness [that is, holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose and action] So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

In the thousands of messages, I’ve heard in my lifetime I can narrow it down to this problem, most messages tell you that you need to receive Jesus Christ in their heart, that you need to read the word of God to learn who He is and you need to pray to have that communication with our Savior. The problem is many times we don’t tell them the how.

Jesus often with His disciples had to tell them the how, teach us how to pray they asked, when will the time of the end be? Jesus had to explain what the four soils meant and many of the other parables Jesus told those gathered.

Paul told us in Roman 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” But what about the why to this question, 13-16, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 

In the modern-day church, the emphasis has been put on more worship and short sermons not so much on teaching but ironically a recent survey among Evangelicals shows people want the opposite, fewer than 10% want shorter sermons while nearly 30% want more in-depth teaching, the younger adults are even more interested as only 7% wanted shorter sermons.

Just as the bible charges parents to train up a child in the way he should go, we in the church have the responsibility to train (equip) those who God has entrusted us with.

Having the proper equipment is important, when you start sometimes you can have the basics, like screw drivers and hammers, but for me it’s important to obtain better tools to do the job God had called us to do better, battery drivers, table saws, ratchet sets are all tools I’ve added to do a better job but you also have specialty tools, ie, laying concrete, putting in windows, hanging cabinets, etc. we in this church have many different talents as well…

A good example we can find in Eph 6:13-17, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: is what we should do

Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Is the why we should put on the armor of God everyday

Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Is the how we put on that armor.

Ephesians 4:11-12, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

Picture care of: resoundnetwork.com

Uncomfortably Numb!

umcomfortable

By Pastor Jeff,

I was and still am a little a fan of the Rock group, “Pink Floyd” who did a song in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb”. Sometimes we welcome numbness when we are battling depression, sickness or disease, and even tragedy we welcome numbness.  It’s a kind of a defense mechanism to help us deal and sometimes avoid dealing with things around or in us. This can be helpful if you do eventually allow some of those feelings come back, are able to face them, and get resolution from it.

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short. There is in fact a disease called, “Congenital Analgesia” which has disastrous results for those who suffer from it such as severe burns, cuts, biting of their tongues and so on. Leprosy also can leave to nerve damage which can lead to broken bones, cuts, burns as well.

So what do I mean by “uncomfortably numb?” That is the best way I can describe about how I have felt since the passing of my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the 37 years I had with her and know we will meet again but since her passing I have had the range of grief, sorrow, depression, and now numbness. Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This I know, that Jesus has been with me all the way through this process and His presence has been a immense comfort to me. I really don’t have a clue how a person can get through things in life without Him. I’m also aware that the numbness I have is not something that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God for Christ tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

So this numbness that I have is becoming uncomfortable but I also want to hang on to it for if I have to endure any more sadness it would be almost impossible to accept it. As a christian though it is imperative for all of us to open up our arms and hearts to anyone that God puts in our path. It’s not easy but staying numb to those around us will only cause hurt, brokenness, lack of love for others, and even affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know there are many others out there that have had tragedies similar or even worse that our family has but if we are to be effective witnesses to our lost and dying award we must step out of that numbness and surrender our wills and lives to Jesus.

picture care of:www.agencynewbusiness.com

When Words are Not Enough!

when-you-cant-look-on-the-bright-side-i-will-18543864

By Pastor Jeff,

Deuteronomy 31:6,“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” This promise is repeated in Hebrew 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

As our family is dealing with the loss of two loved ones in a period of less than 15 months we have heard the statement repeated several times by people, “I don’t have words” or “I can’t even know what your are dealing with”. This is true as the old Indian saying goes, “walk a mile in his moccasins.” which is plain to understand that you can never feel or understand what another person is going through unless you have experienced the same thing. Even then can be difficult to comprehend as we all react to things somewhat differently based on our faith, relationship, and age.

This saying, “When you can’t look at the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” comes from the movie in Alice in Wonderland, I had purchased a T-shirt with the phrase and had wore it to a interview from a local newspaper not thinking that a couple months later it would express my thoughts of today. It has been difficult and may never happen for at least me to go back and continue my life as it was before. It’s hard to be in a  group and discuss the things that once mattered to me. I even told people close to me that I need to be just left alone, that I had no interest in talking about it, but I know through it all that Jesus was there not telling me it will be alright but sitting with me holding my hand, handing me tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes (figuratively).

Listen, Jesus no matter how you feel, what you are experiencing, what you are thinking, in the greatest hours of despair, Jesus is there! Don’t always expect Him to speak words in your ears, to shake you, to even hug you, but know He is there, trust that!

It’s been very difficult in seeing any good of the tragic loss of my son and daughter and when I shared my daughters legacy in our church the scripture that God gave me is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” To be honest I don’t feel good about what happened, I do Love God with everything in me and I do believe I am called for His purpose. But the good I can’t fathom, it hurts way to much at this point in time to think that, but I do believe it. Maybe all that will come of it is that I will get to share my story how no matter what has come my way, I can stand, even if my knees may be weak and wobbly, I will still stand, and if you ever find yourself not able to look at the bright-side I will sit with you even in the dark!

picture care of;onsizzle.com

Christian’s and Suicide

suicide

By Pastor Jeff,

Will a Christian that commits suicide go to heaven? That is a question that is in much dispute and I must say that I will not come to a definitive answer in this blog, but I will share some thoughts and let you come to your own conclusion. The reason I can’t make that definitive answer is that I’m not God and I do not claim to have answers to every question that man seeks answers to. However like the Apostles Paul did occasionally I will deliver my opinion on the matter.

In our bible we can recall six suicides mentioned, Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4–6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). If we want to add Samson to this equation we find seven! Everyone is tragic in its own right and everyone, even Judas was done under extreme moments of depression, fear, and despair.

I have in the last few years and more heavily this past year have studied Mental Health and especially how it is handled by the Church. I found that my past thoughts on the subject were severely lacking and judgmental. I can easily blame those that have in the past blamed any mental health issue on a lack of faith, seeking attention, or worse declaring those affected as being demon possessed. But this belief is just a cop out that I had to come to terms with as a christian first, a brother in the Lord, and then a pastor.

I have found out that this area is very complicated not only in the world but also in the church, I need to admit that I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know all of the questions but I’m searching with an honest heart. In looking at the word of God with this new perspective I have found that though our God is awesome, He chooses people that are very flawed to do His work. The prophet Elijah is one that jumps out at me, in 1 Kings 18 we find Elijah part of a great conquest on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal. When we look at chapter 19 we find this same prophet fleeing under the death threat from Jezebel, verse 4, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” Sounds to me that Elijah was severely depressed to the point of wishing to die.

The problem we have as Christians that the bible declares in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” Could we not say that suicide is in violation of this commandment? After all you are taking death which is appointed by God into your own hands. I in recently years have seen extreme suffering by non Christians and Christians alike not only physically but emotionally. I in no way will defend someone that takes his or hers own life but I will not and cannot stand in judgment of them either. Jesus Christ is the one who has the keys, Revelations 1:17-18, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” It is “He” that will open the books, Revelations 20:11-12, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

In most cases of suicide, no one is there at the time of the passing of the person, only God knows what the state of mind that person was in or the conversation they may have had with our Lord at the moment or time prior to them passing. Listen I don’t have the power to put anyone in nor take anyone out of heaven. That’s God business, I preach the gospel, do my best to love everyone, and keep studying the scriptures to have a reason of my hope. I take comfort in these words found in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let God be God!

picture care of: sites.stedwards.edu

Great Faith!

Great-Faith

By Pastor Jeff,

Several times in our bible we find accounts were Jesus was approached or approached someone and declared that they had more than the average faith, they had “Great Faith”. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-34, and a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:21-28. Interestingly none of these were of the Jewish faith which makes the statement of Jesus even more profound.

We can look at many others such as Noah, Ruth, Joseph, Phillip, Paul and others and see that they exhibited much faith but these three are pointed out as having “Great Faith”. The bible tells us that we all are given faith, Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” 

As we look at the Gifts of the Spirit we can see one of the action gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”Verse 9 again,To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;”

As I ponder on the “Gift of Faith” and “Great Faith” my first reaction is that I have never functioned in this area. But recently as I reflected on this I now believe that I have received a faith that I would not ordinarily have. Before Jesus Christ I believe a supernatural faith. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at three months of age that crushed me to the core. It was pretty much a death sentence though the doctors would not give us any percentage on her chances. She had surgery to remove a tennis size tumor then several months of chemo. But I want to concentrate on the night of her surgery I had come home that night and as I laid in bed I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and a supernatural feeling assurance came on me that in spite of what we were seeing and hearing it was going to be okay!

Just recently I had a similar experience as my daughter once again has been diagnosed with a cancer called Sarcoma Synovial which is inoperable and according to the medical field fatal. Of course this crushed my family and I and despite an astounding number people praying was not going to well. I couldn’t help but plead to God for healing and many people told me she would receive that healing. At the onset I had declare “We walk by Faith not by Sight” But I will be honest, doubt was overwhelming me and found myself very sorrowful and sad. I didn’t believe my words as I declared Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”That all changed recently as I can’t pinpoint the exact time or how, I do know it was a Wednesday that that same assurance I had way back when had prayed that prayer at home came over me and by “Great Faith” in spite of what I hear or see will be healed once again to the Glory of Jesus Christ!

This is not a faith that I can say generated in me but it comes from my love of God and His love for me!

picture care of:http://eaglesinleadership.org

The Peace that Passes…

phil47

By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I had a chance to post a blog and I must say its been a very busy past month. My wife, a few friends, and me took a well deserved vacation down to the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter for a Pastor/Leadership conference. I also took a three day training class in Green Bay WI for becoming a Chaplain for the Rock County Sheriffs Dept. which I consider a great privilege.

So as I write this I am also thinking on my Son, Jeffrey W. who our family lost unexpectedly exactly one year ago today. Last week was also the one year anniversary of a good friends death, Russ, as well, so you would think I would be relating about how awful I am feeling. Not So!

Philippians 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It has to be one of the worse events that any parent could ever endure in that he or she has to bury a child and I will not minimize the pain that comes from it. It’s been said that time heals all wounds but a situation like this will never heal completely nor would I want it to. Jeff was my son, I loved him and would gladly of traded my life for his.

I also have come to the point in my life that I desire to completely surrender to the will of God and the great part of that is that Jesus is there to help us in the rough times, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

At times I must admit I feel guilty that I do not feel that horrible ache in my stomach that I have had at the beginning of all this. It’s not that time has dulled the pain or that I did not love my son or my friend. It’s only by the love of God and His peace that I can face this tragedy head on. This brings me to the thought of those who go through tragedies like this without Christ in their lives; I really don’t know how you can. No wonder people head to the bottle, pills, or even commit suicide to run from the pain. I implore you to seek Jesus Christ and draw to Him as close as possible, for that is the only true way you can get peace during these times!

picture care of; Pinterest.com

Almost Midnight

midnight

By Pastor Jeff,

Eschatology, The study of “Endtimes” is one of my favorite subjects of the bible. With that I firmly believe we are living in the greatest decade ever as we are seeing Bible prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes!

Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The rest of chapter 24 and 25 Jesus then gives answers to this question, such as vs. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”  We see what’s happening in Syria or the joint war games by Russia and China and we can see that this is true, how about vs. 11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” I don’t know about you but I can’t watch or listen to those who sell books, tapes, or anything promoting certain events such as the many “Blood Moons” and try to equate that to being the start of the tribulation period. The ultimate sign is found in Matthew 24:32-34, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” We know this happened May 14th, 1948 when Israel became a nation once again, so without a doubt we are living in the last generation. Interestingly the verse that follows says this, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” So we can’t proclaim a day, but we I believe proclaim a season and the season is here!

Revelation is one of my favorite books and chapter 13:16-18, talks of the “Mark of the Beast”, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Three Square Market, a company in Wisconsin has recently offered implants for its employees, at first for fun, but also convenience. I encourage you to look a the video found on YouTube with an interview with the CEO by NBC. No, I can’t be certain that this is the final product that fulfills this prophecy but I do believe this is a step to make us comfortable with this type of technology.

There is a wonderful day coming, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” And Jesus tells us this in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

It’s Almost Midnight!

picture care of; youtube.com

To Die is Gain…

Phil121

By Pastor Jeff,

I probably should at the onset of this blog state that I’m not suicidal so don’t call the professionals to have me committed. (There are probably many other things that could have me committed I must add!)

Philippians 1:21-25, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;”

I don’t know if it’s a by product of getting older, or that this past year was not particularly a good year in that I lost a good friend and my oldest son, that this world is getting increasingly antagonistic to what we believe as a church, or just that this world has less of a hold on my life. But I find myself more in agreement to what Paul is stating here that death is not something that is feared as it once was and even is starting to have a certain attraction to it.

The more we understand the beauty of what heaven is going to be, Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” It makes me desire to be there more, I know too many people that are suffering physically, mentally, and spiritually to not desire relief for them and as Paul says being with Christ is so much better! It’s getting tougher and tougher to digest the daily news of political unrest not just in other countries but in our very own. You see the disrespect to authority in our schools, law enforcement, and even in the churches that makes you shake your head in disbelief.

Yes, I’m definitely ready for the return of Christ, my cry often is Revelations 22:21, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” I also know this that our world is lost without the message of Jesus Christ and until He returns or decides to take me Home, I will with all I possible can tell others of His love and sacrifice for us all and through that love, we can have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

picture care of; newlifenarrabri.wordpress.com