Monday, December 31, 2012


Starting 2013 Right 

Romans 7:21-25, Philippians 3:12-14, Ephesians 4:11-16, 
1 Corinthians 12:13-27

It is always interesting to hear what people are making resolutions about as the New Year begins. Ann Landers has made some good suggestions in her column. She writes, “Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. . . . Free yourself of envy. . . . Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. . . . Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, ‘Will it matter in a week from today?’ Be optimistic. . . . Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. . . . Walk tall, and smile more. . . . Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I love you.’”

Some other resolutions I read are a little less serious. “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.” “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.” “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.”

I've seen a lot of internet sites with suggestions for your new year resolutions. Not surprisingly, exercise and dieting topped the list. Also near the top were things like becoming a better person and a better spouse. But the one that caught my attention was the one that said, “Follow My Dreams.” People have dreams and they want to live them out. You might interpret that as wanting to live in a fantasy world, but I believe people have real dreams and it is important to reach for them. The problem is that dreams don’t just happen — you make them happen — and it takes work and sacrifice.

How can we move beyond just making resolutions and begin creating solutions for our lives? We do it by working on the core issues of our lives instead of just making cosmetic changes. We have to go to beyond the symptoms to the source of our problems. Losing weight may only be a symptom of the core issue of a lack of self-control in your life — around which there may be many other symptoms. Perhaps you are using food to sedate yourself. Controlling your drinking may only be a symptom of the fact that you are looking for something to deaden the pain and disappointment in your life, instead of finding your comfort and strength in God. Controlling your anger may only be a symptom of a deeper need you have to control life and the people in it with your rage. We focus on the core issues rather than the presenting problem.

I would suggest three areas on which to focus

Focus on Personal Development

I am talking about something more here than running out and getting yourself a new piece of exercise equipment so you can get everything toned. You can be the perfect weight and have a perfect body, and still miss the point of what it means to be a human being. You can read all the self-improvement books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and still be out of control. You can be the best educated person in the world, and still be clueless about how to live life. You might know a lot about a broad range of subjects, and still be ignorant when it comes to things that are ultimately and eternally important. You may have all the right investments and be set for life financially, but be bankrupt spiritually. 
On the other hand, you might be broke, out of shape, unattractive, in poor health and lucky to have graduated from the sixth grade, but you are in touch with things that have ultimate meaning. You are investing your life in eternity. You have joy because you understand your importance to God. You have accepted life for what it is and stopped demanding it be something different. You have learned to forgive. You have learned how to love imperfect people and live in an imperfect world. You have grown in your knowledge of God through reading his Word. You talk to him on a daily basis. There is joy in your life, and a peace that the circumstances of the world cannot take away, because your life is inseparably linked to the eternal God who holds your life in his hands. You trust him. You are conscious of his presence through the day. You want to do his will because of a love for him that has possessed your heart.

If you want to develop yourself personally, the first thing you need to do is see if there is any unsurrendered area of your life. If there is an area of your life that you are holding back from God there will be no growth in your personal life — no personal development. You cannot have victory and freedom in your life if you are holding some things back from God’s control. You cannot resist God and then expect his blessing in your life. It isn’t going to happen. Talk about core issues! If you are saying, “I will obey God in everything except this,” you are blocking God’s work in your life. This is not so much personal development as it is allowing God to do a work in you. The truth is that you cannot develop yourself — this is the reason that our resolutions usually fail. This is the work of God. Paul realized this when he wrote as a person without Christ trying to live for God by their own strength:
 “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” But then he answers his own question when he says, “Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25). 
It is through Christ that we are delivered from our own wretchedness — not our own effort.

But what if you have failed so many times before that you have given up even trying? Take seriously the words of Paul when he wrote: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

 
Forget the past with its failure, and press on toward the future where God has called you. Every day is a new beginning for you with God. Future failure can often be avoided by building holy habits into your life. Mark off a regular time every day when you can spend time reading God’s Word and talking to him. You will not always feel like doing it, but if you do it faithfully, regardless of how you feel, your life will take on a new power. Read good books. Throw away the mindless magazines and stop watching trash TV. Fill your mind with good things, positive things. Set goals for yourself. You have to live life on purpose. Too many people exist day after day, just letting life happen. Don’t let your life happen by default. Build purpose into your life. Don’t let your life be an accident. It is easy to avoid life, and just sink into our easy chairs and let life go by. Don’t let others be in charge of your life; give your life to God and let him be in charge. Let him develop your personal life.

Elie Wiesel, the eloquent Jewish author, once told this story: “A just man comes to Sodom hoping to save the city. He pickets. What else can he do? He goes from street to street, from marketplace to marketplace, shouting, ‘Men and women, repent. What you are doing is wrong. It will kill you; it will destroy you.’ They laugh, but he goes on shouting, until one day a child stops him. ‘Poor stranger, don’t you see it’s useless?’ ‘Yes,’ the just man replies. ‘Then why do you go on?’ the child asks. ‘In the beginning,’ he says, ‘I was convinced that I would change them. Now I go on shouting because I don’t want them to change me.”’ 

I have known many people who were easily influenced by others. Sometimes they did not want to hurt other people’s feelings by disagreeing with them, or not going along with what they said. Or maybe it was because they did not want to be rejected. They did things they knew were wrong, and went places they wouldn’t have gone otherwise. And because they had not taken charge of their lives, someone else did. Because they had not purposely made commitments they found themselves following the will of others. Since they did not have a strong sense of purpose, they found themselves being controlled by others. Build purpose into your life or someone else will do it for you. Personal development is important, because without it you will be adrift in life. The Bible says that we are to grow in our spiritual lives, for, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:11-14).

To be continued. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


How About Less Christmas Stress             
Luke 10:38-42                             

Whether you like it our not and whether you are prepared or not, the Christmas Season is upon us! Ladies, it is a scientific fact that shopping is more stressful for men than for women. According to a report in “The Oregonian,” British psychologist David Lewis found proof that shopping is hazardous to men’s health. Testing volunteers ages 22-79 by sending them out Christmas shopping; he recorded blood pressure rates that “you’d expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat.” In the same test, only one in four women showed any significant signs of stress from shopping.

“A few days before Christmas two men in Florida decided to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. As the men were out sailing a terrible storm arose and they had great difficulty keeping their boat under control. While they maneuvered their way back to land their boat became grounded on a sandbar. They had to jump overboard to push with all their might trying to get the boat into deeper water. As they were straining against the storm, the wind was blowing terribly, the waves were rushing upon them and they were soaking wet and knee deep in sandy mud. Then one of the two looked at his buddy and said, ‘You know it sure beats Christmas shopping.’ ” 

What should be one of the most rewarding times of the year for us, a time which should bring us joy and warm our hearts, instead often brings stress and heartburn, headaches and depression. In fact, many are dreading instead of looking forward to the days leading up to Christmas.
The stress that plagues people at this time of the year is rooted in three basic sources; TIME (getting everything done), MONEY (paying for it) and EMOTIONS (conflict with family and past painful memories that resurface).

If you stop to think about it, stress is nothing new at Christmas. The events surrounding the very first Christmas were filled with an incredible amount of stress. Observe:
-Angels start showing up, scaring the living daylights out of people. 
-Mary is pregnant out of wedlock. 
-Joseph, Mary’s husband to be, wants to quietly break-off the marriage. 
-Joseph is told that Mary is carrying the Son of God and it is up to him to care for them. 
-Joseph, along with every other head of a household, is compelled by law to return to the city of his birth for the census. 
-Joseph finds himself on the road with a pregnant woman; no rest stops, no restaurants, no comforts (and there's NO donkey found anywhere in the Bible story for Mary to ride!).
-It's a definite possibility that Mary's mood was not the best, by the time they arrived in Bethlehem. 
-When they finally arrive at Bethlehem Joseph discovers there are no vacancies and he is going to have to tell his pregnant wife that they are going to stay in a barn (or stable, or cave).

I submit to you that there was a lot of stress associated with the first Christmas!

Let's direct our attention to a story recorded in Luke 10:38-42. It may seem like an unusual choice given what we’ve been talking about but you'll soon see why.
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. (40) But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." (41) And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. (42) "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." (NKJV)
Poor Martha understood what stress was, rushing around trying to get everything ready – after all, Jesus was in the house! Martha surely represents every person, men included, who are so worked up about getting everything done that needs to be done so that they can “enjoy Christmas.”
Stress can result from anything that: Annoys you, threatens you, worries you, hurries you, angers you, or frustrates you.

Some of the symptoms of stress are:

 • Frequent headaches.
• Irregular heartbeats.
• Getting dizzy or light headed.
• Indigestion or nausea.
• Difficulty failing or staying asleep.
• Waking up tired.
• Anger or irritability.

Martha was probably familiar with these symptoms.

I think that we can see some of the traits of the stress-prone person in the life of Martha. Perhaps you see some of these characteristics reflected in your own life. 


1. Plans day unrealistically
2. Always in a hurry
3. Makes no plan for relaxation
4. Feels guilty about doing anything other than work
5. Sees unforeseen problem as a setback or disaster
6. Is always thinking about several other things when working.
7. Feels the need to be recognized and overextends themselves because of this.

That sure sounds like Martha. Does it sound like you?
In today’s text we will see four simple principles for overcoming Christmas stress.

How Too Overcome Christmas Stress

Set Realistic Expectations For Yourself

One translation of verse forty reads, Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” That sounds like our lives sometimes. Like Martha we can get so distracted by what we consider the many necessary things that we miss the main point. By focusing on those things of lesser importance we miss what is the most important.
Notice what Jesus tells Martha in verse forty-two, “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.” What Martha had chosen was not bad or evil. All the work that she was doing was good, but not all she was doing was necessary. Perhaps all of the preparations you have planned for Christmas are good, but are they all necessary? The thing about Martha’s predicament is that no one had assigned her all these duties; she was the one who had decided what “had to be done.” If she had too much to do, it was not simply because her sister Mary was not helping her, perhaps it was because her plans were too elaborate.
Jesus told Martha, “only one thing is needed” and that one thing was spending relationship time with Jesus. We must not get so wrapped up in our preparations for the Holidays that we have little or (God forbid) no time for Christ.
The best thing you can do for yourself as we enter this Christmas season is, “Determine what is really stressing you.” For example, if it is really stressing you out, do you really have to have that special dessert that takes an entire afternoon to make? Do you absolutely have to decorate the house as elaborately as you did last year? Do you have to spend so much money that you’re still paying for Christmas presents next May?
Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself and:

Remember Why You Are Doing What You Are Doing

Martha got so busy serving Jesus she forgot to spend time with Jesus. We can get so busy with our preparations for Christmas, and our participation in Christmas that we forget to spend time with Christ.
I want to share a poem that I think says it better than I can, entitled, Can This Be Christmas?
“What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and scurry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I’ll go instead to Calvary.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ—this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.
In endless bliss we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!

[M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible]
Remember Why You Are Doing What You Are Doing and:

Don't Wait Too Long To Put Your Hope In Jesus Christ

Christmas is a spiritual time for some but for others it’s a time which reminds them that something is missing in their life. Christmas shows them like no other time of the year does, the spiritual emptiness they feel.

“Back in the days when service station attendant actually filled your car for you, a preacher waited to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him at the service station. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. “Preacher,” said the young man, “I am sorry about the wait. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute too get ready for a long trip!” The preacher, chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s the same in my work.”
If you haven’t obeyed the gospel please do it today!

Don’t Wait Too Long to Place Your Hope in Jesus Christ and: 

Decide To Do Something This Christmas To Make A Difference

•Mend a quarrel, tell someone that may not know, how they have blessed your life.
•Forgive someone who has treated you wrong.
•Turn away wrath with a soft answer.
•Visit someone who is lonely.
•Surprise everyone and apologize if you were wrong.
•Be especially kind to someone with whom you work.
•Give your gifts this Christmas as God gave to you in Christ, without obligation, or reservation, or hidden meaning.

(I first preached this sermon December 5th 2004. Some of the content is borrowed from other fine preachers.)

Mangosteen Juice, Glimpse Skin Care, Favao Diet and Exercise


Saturday, July 28, 2012

God Is Trying To Tell Us Something


     Introduction:
 
   1. Many things about this world make it a place where tragedies happen.
        1) Human selfishness, free will, sin, arrogance, etc.
        2) Natural law.
     2.  The tragic senseless shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.
        1) Lives have been cut short.
        2) The lives of innocent people.
        3) The lives of sons, daughters, mothers, etc.
     3. God expects us to learn from tragedy. He is trying to tell us something.
        1) There is a warning in tragedy.
        2) There is motivation in tragedy.
        3) There is remembrance in tragedy.

     Discussion:

     I.    LIFE IS FRAGILE

           1. Life is compared to a vapor. James 4:14
           2. All flesh is as grass. 1 Pet. 1:24
           3. We have no idea what tomorrow might bring. Pr. 27:1
           4. We cannot control the length of our days. Luke 12:19, 20
             
[With this firmly in our minds let us further note:]

     II.   OUR TIME FOR SERVICE TO GOD IS LIMITED

           1. Consider the Parable of the Talents. Matt. 25:14ff
           2. All of us have been given talents and opportunities.
           3. The reckoning will come all too soon. v. 19
           4. Have you dealt faithfully with what the Lord has entrusted to you?
              Note the reward of the five talent man. vs. 20, 21
           5. Will you find yourself trying to make excuses when he returns? vs. 24-31
              1) Have you taught that neighbor?
              2) Have you lifted up that brother?
              3) Have you supported that missionary in a far away land?
              4) Have you relieved that widow or orphan?
              5) Have you visited the sick and shut-in?
              6) Do your children remain untaught?
              7) Have you studied that Bible?
              8) Did you attend that service?
              9) Or will you simply have to say, "Well, I was going to!"
            10) What are you doing with your time instead?
           6. When your time comes to an end there’s no better
               way to be found by God than in the course of doing your duty.
           7. Life is fragile. Be found doing your duty.

 [Another thing God teaches us by the fragile nature of
this life is...]

      III.  OUR TIME TO DEAL WITH OUR SIN IS LIMITED

           1. We must deal with sin.
              1) All have sinned. Rom. 3:23
              2) Sin separates us from God. Is.  59:2
              3) There are terrible consequences for failing to
                 deal with sin. Rev. 20:11-15
              4) A plan has been given for dealing with sin.
                 A. Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Luke 24:46, 47
                 B. Acts 2:38; 3:19; 22:16
                 C. It must be acted on now!!!
           2. The present time is stressed in scripture. 2 Co. 6:2
           3. It's too late after we die.
              1) After death is the judgment. Heb. 9:27
              2) There is a great gulf fixed. Lu. 16:26
           4. The saddest thing about a life cut short is,
              there are no more opportunities to obey the gospel.
           5. I have heard of: Those who said "next Sunday."
               It never came.
           6. I wonder how many have said, "I'll repent tomorrow."
              And the Lord says, "You fool, this day your
              life is required of you."

[God is trying to tell us something in tragedy. His les-
sons of motivation and warning have been given. Yet, there
is another message, a message of great comfort.
This message is...]

     IV.   THERE IS A LIFE TO COME IN WHICH TRAGEDY DOESN’T EXIST
            THERE IS VICTORY

           1. 1 Co. 15:51-57
           2. 1 Th. 4:16-18
           3. Jn. 14:1-3
           4. Re. 21:1-7

     Conclusion:

     1. How we are eternally affected by tragedy depends on us. Job 1:20f
     2. Are we hearing the message of God in tragedy?
        1) Do you realize that your life is fragile?
        2) Do you know that your time for doing God's will is limited?
        3) Do you know that your time for dealing with sin is limited?
        4) Have you been reminded of the victory to come?


SHOP XANGO MANGOSTEEN PRODUCTS

RUN YOUR OWN DENTAL VISION AND MAJOR MEDICAL QUOTE



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Letting Go Of The Boat


Here's a sermon outline I really enjoyed sharing with folks!


Letting Go Of The Boat

22  Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matt 14:22-33 (ESV)

Thesis: To learn how to “walk on water” in order to live the life that Jesus desires.

Introduction:

(1) One week a bulletin listed next week’s sermon titles as:
A.M. – Jesus walks on water
P.M. – Searching for Jesus
(2) We know the story about this miracle of Jesus, but I want us to focus in on Peter as we make modern-day application:

Discussion:

I. WE MUST WAIT FOR THE LORD TO SAY "COME".

A. Peter asked the Lord to command him to come.
B. We must learn to discern between faith and foolishness.

II. WE MUST GET OUT AND LET GO OF THE BOAT.


A. The boat was Peter’s security blanket & comfort zone, but he had to leave it if he wanted to walk on water. He had to let go of it!

B. What is your security blanket? A Job? A Relationship? A Lifestyle? Etc.

C. The first step is the hardest. Illustration – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (3 tests along the way with the 3rd being the “Path of God”)

D. Consider this quote about the common cold of the soul according to Gregg Levoy:

To sinful patterns of behavior that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed –
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you’re looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul,
And forgotten dreams,
And you realize there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself –
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.

III. WE MUST EXPECT THE STORMS OF LIFE.

A. Peter had to endure a storm.

B. The storms of life will come our way despite our being a Christian
(cf. 2 Tim. 3.12).
1. Think of the prophets and of Jesus Himself.
2. Eileen Guider wrote:
“You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer, drink no tea, coffee, or other stimulants in the name of health, go to bed early, stay away from night life, avoid all controversial subjects so as never to give offense, mind your own business, avoid involvement in other people’s problems, spend money only on necessities and save all you can. You can still break your neck in the bath tub […]”

IV. WE MUST KNOW THAT JESUS IS STILL WITH US WHEN WE SINK.

A. Peter cried out to Jesus and Jesus rescued him.

B. Jesus is always there to deliver us.

V. WE MUST TRY AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

A. Theodore Roosevelt once said:
It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena …who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

B. Examples:
1. Hank Aaron – leader in homeruns as well as strikeouts
2. Jonas Salk – failed 200 times before he found the polio vaccine
3. Abraham Lincoln – failed at public office 15 times before presidency

C. We must never quit trying.

VI. WE MUST REMAIN FOCUSED ON JESUS.

A. Peter sank when he shifted his focus from the Savior to the storm.

B. We must be continually “fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12.2a.).

CONCLUSION:

 (1) We are to be a people who walk by faith (2 Cor. 5.7).
(2) Dare to dream … take a chance. Get out and let go of the boat when Jesus calls you.







Saturday, April 21, 2012

God Loves "FAT" People Life Group Lesson


This is the Life Group lesson that follows last week's sermon. It will also work well as a stand alone Bible study without the sermon. Read the verses and answer the questions. It will work for your group, by yourself, or with your spouse as a couples study. God bless.



God Loves “Fat” People
(Faithful, Accountable, & Trustworthy)
Matthew 25:14-30
 [Life Group Lesson]

Open: 5 -10   mins   Move quickly through this section.

Who was one of the most talented people you knew in school? What happened to that person?
What talents were you known for in school?

Dig: 15 - 20 mins   Read the Bible verses. Remember to pace yourself. Don’t get too long here.

1.       If you were to go away for a long time, who would you entrust things to? Why?
2.       What were the master’s expectations of his servants while he was away?
3.       What happens to the two servants who doubled their investment? To the servant who hides his talent? On what basis were they rewarded?
4.       How does the master’s treatment of the one-talent servant seem to you: Fair? Harsh? Lenient? Why?

Reflect: 25 - 30 mins   Spend most of your time in this section.

5.       What is the parable’s message?
  • God cannot tolerate laziness.
  • God has given Christians a “job” to do until Christ’s return.
  • When we are faithful and use the “talents” God has given us, He gives us more.
  • Condemnation awaits those who don’t invest their lives in God’s kingdom.

6.       How do you feel when you’re given a lot of responsibility?
  • Nervous – I hope I don’t blow it!
  • Proud – People believe in me!
  • Overwhelmed – I can’t handle it!
  • Confident – I can handle it and be accountable for it!

7.       What would help you to better use your talents and abilities right now, today?
  • To recognize them?
  • To be more responsible and trustworthy?
  • To believe in myself more?
  • To get more encouragement from others?

8.      What expectations do you feel God has in relation to how you use your talents?
  • He won’t settle for anything less than my best
  • As long as I try, He’s pleased.
  • He doesn’t expect anything more of me.
  • I feel He expects more than I can give.

9.       If the Master returned today, how much of your talents and potential would He say you are using for Him right now?
  • Sorry you asked.
  • Maybe 5%.
  • I would say 50%.
  • I’m giving it all I’ve got.
  • Other:___________________

10.   What does, “Come and share my happiness with me,” mean to you (Matt. 25:23 ERV)?

11.    How can the group support you in prayer this week?




Saturday, April 14, 2012

God Loves FAT People


What follows is a sermon outline from sometime in 2004. I thought the title would be intriguing for the listener. I also have a Life Group lesson from this sermon material that I will post next week. You get to fill in the rest of this lesson. Have fun and God bless. 

God Loves Fat People

The Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14–30

INTRODUCTION
• The Players in the Parable: The Master represents Christ while the servants represent us (Christians).
• When Jesus ascended into heaven, he was like a man traveling to another country.
He did not leave us empty handed. He gave us everything we need to take care of ourselves and his Kingdom during his absence.
• Christ doesn’t keep any idle servants. When he returns he will want to know what we have done in his absence.
• What did you do with the things I left for you?
• Were you Faithful with them?
• What is you Account of them?
• Can I Trust you with anything better?
God loves a FAT Man! One who is FAITHFUL, ACCOUNTABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY.


I. Faithful Servants
A. Like the servants in the parable, we too are expected to be Faithful.
B. We must be faithful to God. Joshua 22:14–15
C. We must be faithful with the mission he has given us. John 21:15–17

II. Accountable Servants
A. Like the master in the parable, Christ will return and all will give an accounting to him. Romans 14:11–12
B. God expects us to give him an increase. 1 Cor. 3:5–9

III. Trustworthy Servants
A. Like the servants in the parable, Christ will reward those who prove to be trustworthy and he will punish those who are not.
B. Works will not earn our way into heaven, but work we must. Eph. 2:8–10
C. Faith and Works go together, because of one we are compelled to do the other. James 2:14–14

CONCLUSION
God has given so much for us, being FAT is the least we can do for Him!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Revival Fire From Above

Here is a the beginning of a two part message regarding the prophet Elijah. This first installment is a bullet point review of 1 Kings 18. When verses are listed please read them. That will help you understand Elijah's situation better. Thanks.



Revival-Fire From Above (Elijah) 

1 Kings 18:1-18:46

There was a man who was going skydiving for the very first time. He had taken all the lessons and now it was time for his first solo jump. He leaps out of the plane but he panicked and couldn’t remember how to open his parachute. As he was falling rapidly to the earth he suddenly met another guy who is going UP! He seizes the opportunity and shouts, “Hey buddy, do you know the right way to work a parachute?” The guy shouts back, “No! Do you know the right way to light a propane stove?”

++++++++++++++++++

• God has chosen fire to be the symbol of his presence.
• Throughout history, Revival has always been associated with fire.
• To ask God for Revival is to pray for Fire From Above.
• No one knew how to start a fire like Elijah!
• Ahab became King of Israel; his infamous wife was none other than Jezebel.
• Ahab was a terrible King. He led the people to worship Baal and Asherah, the gods of his wife Jezebel.
“Ahab did more to provoke the Lord to anger than did all the Kings of Israel before him.” 1 Kings 16:33
• Elijah, a prophet of God, cursed the land because of Ahab’s evil. 1 Kings 17:1
• For three years it did not rain and God again came to Elijah.
• God told Elijah to go to Ahab and confront him. He promised that if he did so, it would rain.
• When Elijah confronted Ahab, Ahab blamed Elijah for his troubles. 1 Kings 18:17
• Elijah explained to him where the real problem was. 1 Kings 18:18
• Elijah made Ahab a “proposition.”
• Bring all the people to Mount Carmel along with the prophets of Baal & Asherah.
• When they were gathered, Elijah urged the people to make a commitment.1 Kings 18:21
• Elijah challenged Baal himself. Have his prophets place a bull on the altar and let Baal set fire to it himself.
• The pagan prophets cried and cut themselves but there was no answer.
• Elijah made fun of them. “Maybe you should pray louder. Maybe he is busy or traveling or sleeping. Maybe praying louder will wake him.
• Nothing worked and now it was God’s turn.
• Elijah rebuilt God’s altar, dug a trench around it, prepared a bull and drenched all of it in water.
• Elijah then called on God to show His power.
• Elijah called for God to send fire from above and the fire not only consumed the sacrifice, but the wood, the altar and the dust around it.
• After seeing this amazing display the people fell on their faces and proclaimed “The Lord he is God! The Lord he is God!” 1 Kings. 18:39
• In this time of great moral decline, Revival broke out!

We must get on our faces like Elijah and pray for a personal and congregational Revival!
It is not "church" people are looking for, PEOPLE DON’T “GET” CHURCH.
What people are looking for is GOD and they will come to GOD when they see Fire in our Hearts!


To be continued.

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