Rise

Rise and shine like the sun;
For the Son shines in you.
Rise and face this new day;
Knowing you don’t face it alone.
Rise and be bold;
For the Lord your is Rock.
Rise and be confident;
For the Lord is your refuge.
Rise and praise Him;
For God almighty has redeemed you.
Rise and worship Him;
For He is worthy.
Rise and be forgiven;
For Jesus has died for you.
Rise and rise again;
For Jesus lives and so shall you, forever.
Rise and shine;
For this is indeed a glorious day.

The Pastor-|—

Working Out

I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The following prayer is what I am using on Sunday, Nov 4, before I preach on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Holy God,
Martin Luther is quoted as saying,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me;
it has legs, it runs after me;
it has hands, it lays hold of me.
Oh God,
run and catch us.
Lay hold of and keep us.
Open our eyes and ears
that we may see and hear Your Word of truth;
for Your Word is a living word.
It’s active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Pierce our hearts and make us alive in Jesus.
Trim away the fat and make us lean.
May Your Word be all that is left in us,
so much so,
that You shine forth
and are glorified in and through our lives.
May we be so alive with Your Spirit
that we run after you;
working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
To you be the glory, now and forever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

This Much

The magnitude of what Jesus did for us can not be overstated.
The lengths that Jesus went to can not be measured.
The depths of his love can not be gauged.
The wideness of his grace can not be seen,

The closest we get is this: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God (think about that for a moment, the form – of – God), did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT

emptied himself,
by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient
to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5–11 ESV]

Let that sink in…

Goosebumps yet? No? Then go back and read it again and this time pay attention.
or
Goosebumps yet? Yes? Then go back and read it again and just abide in this Word.

This is how much Jesus loves you. Any questions?

The Pastor -|—

 

Everything

I’ve been reflecting on Nike’s new ad campaign that features embattled (former) NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who infamously started the “kneeing for the national anthem” movement. The campaign features a black and white close-up of his face with the words…

Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything

A couple thoughts come to mind:
(1) Kaepernick has NOT sacrificed “everything”. He still sits on a nice little nest egg and is receiving national attention. The only thing he has sacrificed is playing in the NFL, and if that is “everything” then he truly has nothing.
(2) Jesus sacrificed EVERYTHING that we could have ETERNAL LIFE, which is everything we need.
(3) When you only believe in “something” you have nothing. When you believe in someone, namely Jesus, then you have everything.
(4) When you truly sacrifice “everything” for Jesus, you have lost nothing.
(5) Our brave men and women serving in the armed forces have sacrificed far more than Kaepernick will ever know.

With that being said…

I am in no way attacking what Colin Kaepernick is claiming he is protesting. I am in no way advocating some boycott of Nike like some are doing. But this believe in something/sacrificing everything crap that Nike is dishing out has rubbed me the wrong way. It has also saddened me and stirred something up in me. If people don’t get that Jesus sacrificed everything that, through faith in him, you can have eternal life, then I need to step things up more.

So here you go…

PEOPLE: You are SINNERS. You are under God’s WRATH. But wait, there is hope…JESUS. He died FOR YOU and rose from the grave FOR YOU, that you could have ETERNAL LIFE. Believe not in something, but believe in someone…JESUS.

There you go…

To God be the glory!

The Pastor -|—

Soaking In

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
[Romans 3:23-24]

Did you notice that above verse? Please don’t tell me you skipped it just to get to the “good stuff”. Read the verse. Now, read it again and this time include yourself in the word “all“. Now, read the verse again, keeping yourself in the word “all” and now, soak in the words “are justified by his grace as a gift“. Are you feeling silly for skipping that verse the first time?

My point is that YOU are a sinner, but through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, you are justified; made right in God’s eyes, as a GIFT.

GIFT!

GRACE!

No strings attached
No fine print
No bait and switch

Through faith in Jesus (which is a gift) you are justified by his grace.

Wow, I mean, WOW!

Soak that in.

A sinner saved by God.

Justified.

Wow!

The Pastor -|—

God’s House Forever

I “stumbled” upon this verse today from Psalm 84…

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. [Psalm 84:10]

Now, consider the closing verse of the beloved Psalm 23…

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. [Psalm 23:6]

Do you see it? One day in the courts of God would far exceed a 1000 years elsewhere. I agree with that. I am right there with the psalmist. But now consider this, through faith in Jesus Christ, we get more than one day in God’s courts. Actually, we get to dwell in God’s HOUSE…FOREVER. Did you just get goose bumps? Yup me too 🙂

All praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Don’t be Stupid

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

[1 Corinthians 1:23-25]

Seriously? People actually preach something else than that. Wow! That is baffling especially since, as Paul says, For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. Since that is the case, why preach something else? Why preach social justice? Why preach “7 ways to your best life now”? Why preach “5 tips to being a better you”? Why preach anything or anyone other than Jesus? If you are doing that…STOP. That’s just stupid and leading people to death. Christ crucified AND risen is salvation. Christ crucified AND risen is life. If you are stumbling over this concept, read your Bible and receive wisdom that ONLY comes from God.

The Pastor -|—