Men, We Need To Talk

There is a secret sin that is destroying the men of our churches. I am talking about pornography and the Bible calls it sexual immorality. This secret sexual sin is picking off the men of the church and is the catalyst for much greater sins that have been plaguing the church as well as many of it's leaders. Pornography on any level is sin. So that we are all on the same page, the definition of pornography I am talking about is anything that is designed for the purpose of sexual arousal. And yes I realize this covers a HUGE gamut of media sources including movie sex scenes, billboards, magazines, commercials and what is traditionally called pornography. But lets be real, all of these have become highly sexual and would have been considered pornographic 50 years ago and should be today.

Here are the statistics as published by ProvenMen from an online survey:

Sixty-four percent of men view pornography “at least monthly.”

The proportion is even higher for men between the ages of 18 and 30 where 79 percent – eight in ten – men view pornography monthly.

Based on a sample of 1,000 adults nationwide, the survey revealed that viewing pornography on a regular basis is widespread in the U.S.

It also found that the number of men identifying themselves as Christians and viewing pornography virtually mirrors the national average.

More of the findings from the survey:

--Two-thirds (67 percent) of men between the ages of 31 and 49 view pornography monthly.

--One-half (49 percent) of men between the ages of 50 and 68 view pornography monthly.

--Christian men are watching pornography at work at the same rate as the national average. 

-- Broken down, 19 percent of single men, 17 percent of married men, and 33 percent of men aged 18-30 either think that they are addicted, or are not sure if they are addicted, to pornography.

Clearly this is a huge problem. These statistics show that in your church one out of  every three guys could secretly be addicted to pornography. And we wonder why the church is so weak. We wonder why the men of our churches are not leading us in victory the way God called them to. It's because they are being defeated in the secret places. Privately tormented by the sin that hangs on their necks like a noose. 

The truth is, that no man who is truly born again. No man that is filled with the Holy Spirit. No man that knows Jesus is ok with this secret life of sin. They are tormented. They feel deep shame and guilt. They are dying inside. They want to be free. They want to be whole again. 

The great news of the Gospel for these men is that Jesus came to set us free. John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

That being the case, why are so many professing believers trapped in this cycle of secret sin? 

Thats just it, The fact that it is done in private and kept a secret plays a major part in why it's so hard to overcome. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The Bible makes is clear that sin needs to be brought out into the light. We are told that confessed sin will be forgiven. And when we confess, he is faithful to forgive AND cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If you are honest you would have to admit that the guilt and shame of this sin drives you away from Jesus. This is called condemnation and is the tool of Satan. Confess. Bring it out into the light before God. 

But don't stop there because we read in James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

First let me say if someone comes to you with this, be gentle. Show them grace. Show them mercy. It took serious courage to bring this out into the light and they are trusting that you will be a friend in time of need. Pray with them. Pray for them and help them by holding them accountable. 

To those that are struggling with this secret sin, bring it out into the light. Talk with your Pastor. Talk with a deacon in your church. Talk with a close friend or someone you feel you can trust and count on. Please get this out into the light. Expose this sin. Get accountability. 

And in the name of Jesus be free from it!

If you are reading this and you have an addiction to pornography you can be free. If you know Jesus as your savior you need to confess your sin and seek after Him with all your heart. Make Jesus the central focus of your life. Fill all the cracks and crevices with Him. Allow Him to enter every room. Expose the sin to the light on all sides. Get into His Word and allow it to get into you!

If you do not know Jesus. Today is the day. You can be free from this sin and forgiven of them all. You can have eternal life and never fear death again. Jesus paid for all sins on the cross, rose from the dead three days later and did it all because He loves you. 

Even now. In your sin. He loves you. But your sin is separating you from Him like it has from everyone else. Be free. Give your life to Him today. Trust on the name of Jesus and be saved. For more watch the video HERE

 

Confessions of a "Silenced" Pro Life Pastor

I know what you're probably thinking. If you know me, you know I am Pro Life. And as a Pastor you most likely expected that I would be. But the truth is, I have been afraid to be vocal about it. Especially on Social Media. I have been silent on the subject for some time.

I WAS AFRAID.

I was afraid of the reaction by some and possible hurt of others. I was worried that if I took a clear stand on this highly contested issue it might close a door of opportunity with someone for the sake of the Gospel. I was afraid of hurting the one that has had an abortion without the opportunity to counsel them in love. I was concerned that my audience or sphere of influence might shrink. I feared the unfollow. 

I REPENT.

I repent and confess that this has been a quiet form of compromise. I confess that I was allowing fear to keep me silent. I can see now that I was not using the voice God has given me regarding this life and death issue. I was wrong. 

NO MORE. 

No More will I stay silent. No longer will I keep quiet on this important issue. I am going to use the voice God has given me to speak out against the tragedy of abortion. I will pray for those that have been hurt by it. I will seek to counsel in love those whom I am given the opportunity. But I will not be afraid anymore. 

THE TRUTH.

Abortion is murder. Abortion is sin. Abortion is wrong. BUT God can and will forgive all who will come to Him in Jesus Name.

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.

Fake News.....

FAKE NEWS is a term we have been hearing often in the news which I find a little ironic to say the least. The question that I find myself asking in this crazy world we live in, is what can I trust? Fox News? CNN? Alex Jones? The Christian Post? Seriously where can I get the real scoop? Is it even possible to get the truth anymore?

I am quickly concluding that pretty much anything this world tells me through the media (News, TV, Movies, Music, Magazines, Blogs, etc.) is junk. Full of lies and 99% worthless. I am starting to think that it is all Fake News.

Think about it. The media is constantly promoting evolution and man-made climate change as fact when we know these things are absolute lies. They promote false religions and false morality as good and wholesome. Why would we trust anything they say? Why would we believe anything they tell us?

We Read in John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Satan is the father of lies and all those that follow him share his desires. They do not stand in the truth and there is no truth in them.In this world of deceit where can we turn to get truth? 

Where can we go and know I'm getting is the real deal? 

There is only one source I can point you to. There is only one place and that is the Word of God. The Holy Bible. Only in the Scriptures can I put all my weight knowing it will not move. It will not lie. It will not let me down. God's word alone is our source of truth and everything must be tested by His Word.

I am so thankful that God has provided and preserved His sure word for us. He has given us 66 books of truth brought together in one we call the Bible. It has what you need. It speaks the truth you crave. So, turn off the TV. Shut down your computer. Put down your iPad and take some time to get in His Word today. Find the news you need in the only source you can always trust.

Hunger and Thirst

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. 

God has placed in every living thing a sense of self preservation. The desire to live and willingness to fight to stay alive. This is what keeps us from doing things we know would kill or hurt us and fight to stay alive when we are put in jeopardy. Self-preservation moves you to eat through hunger and drink through thirst. It’s your body's natural effort to stay alive. 

Jesus tells us we should hunger and thirst after righteousness with at least the same intensity that we do for food and water. We should recognize that we need righteousness like we need food. Why are we so quick to take care of the body but so slow to take care of the Spirit. We need to live like we know the truth. That this body is going to pass away along with everything in this world, but your Spirit will live on. 

Proverbs 10:2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death. 

I wonder what would happen if we obeyed the Spirit and pursued righteousness with the same level of conviction that we do food and water. If we placed Righteousness at the same level of importance as eating and drinking. I think this is what Jesus was trying to say. That we should want it, Chase it, Hunger and Thirst after it. That we would see righteousness as vital for life itself. 

Proverbs 21:21 He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor.

I pray that God creates in us a deep hunger and thirst for righteousness. That He moves upon our lives and hearts drawing into a deep love for Jesus remembering what He said in John 14:15 "If you love Me, Keep My commandments". In Jesus name. Amen. 

Grace and Truth

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

All Truth is a killer and All Grace is a liar but Jesus came perfectly balanced. Full of Grace and Truth. 

One day Jesus was presented with a women who was caught red handed in the act of adultery (an obvious set up) and asked what should be done with this women? The bible plainly says they where seeking to trap Jesus. 

At first, He said nothing but instead He stooped down and began writing in the dirt like He didn't hear them. They continued pressing Him so finally He said "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." After, He continued writing in the dirt. Well you know the rest story. One after another they all dropped their stones and let the scene. No one knows just what He wrote (because the bible doesn't tell us). But whatever it was, it ran her accusers off one by one leaving her alone with Jesus. 

Jesus stood up and asked the women "Where are those accusers of yours?" "Has no one condemned you?" She answered "no one Lord" and He replied "Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more."

This story found in the Gospel of John is a wonderful display of Grace and Truth. Grace declared "Neither do I condemn you." Truth instructed "Go and sin no more." Jesus came full of grace and truth. He gives both in perfect balance. 

Today we seem to hear one or the other in full volume, un-balanced and often un-biblical. But if you are not balanced in your approach of Grace or Truth you may find yourself  in serious error. Because all grace is a liar and all truth is a killer. 

Jesus did not condemn this women. He gave her grace. Underserved, unmerited, beautiful grace. But He also gave her truth. He gave her a command of absolute moral perfection, "go and sin no more". 

Jesus seems to present us with an impossible situation. Only a perfect balance of Grace and Truth could do both. 

Christ Jesus, through His death and resurrection has provided us with His Grace without compromising His truth. His grace now provides the power to live out His truth. 

For I have been crucified with Christ. it is no longer I who live but Christ Who lives in me, and the life which I know live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

FAITH IS NOT JUST A FEELING

“Faith ultimately can’t be argued; it has to be felt. Hopefully you can still feel your faith fully and let your mind have a logical life of its own and they do not defy each other, but compliment each other. Because, logic itself, I don’t think, for me, and Aquinas might say differently, will not lead me to god. But my love of the world and my gratitude toward it will. So, hopefully I can use my mind to make my jokes and not deny my love for god at the same time.” Stephen Colbert

With all due respect Stephen, I disagree and so does the Bible. Faith is not just a feeling to be separated from the mind of logic. 

I often tell my church from the pulpit that the Christian faith does not ask us to check our brain at the door. It is not a faith without footing. Peter put it this way in 2Peter 1:16 "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

John reminds us of the sureness of our faith in 1John 1:1-4 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life - the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us - that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Ours is a faith built on facts, fulfilled prophecies and a risen Savior all of which have been handed down through eyewitness accounts and preserved by God through faithful men found in the Bible. 

Paul reminds us that even creation itself leaves man with out an excuse to disobey the reality of a Holy God in their lives -   Romans 1:18-21 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." 

The idea that intellect or logic is not in sync with our faith is not what the bible teaches us at all. Listen to the words of the Lord Spoken to us by the Prophet Isaiah 1:16-20 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow."Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

God says to us "Come now, let us reason together". Biblical faith is not a mindless one. It is not void of logic. It is not just a feeling. In fact, the bible tells us that our heart (that is the seat of our feelings) is not a trustworthy source for direction at all (Jeremiah 17:9).  

Faith is not just a feeling. It is built on a conviction that something is true. Jesus rose from the dead. He is the cornerstone of our faith and the bedrock upon which we stand. To seek to separate faith and the mind of logic is to reject the validity of the Christian Faith and is not just wrong but is dangerous. This idea stems from a moral relativist world view and legitimizes any faith just as long as it is sincere. You can be sincere in your faith and be sincerely wrong. 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Just the Facts....

Joe Friday would be pulling his hair out right about now. It seems like trying to get the facts in this world is nearly impossible. Who can we trust? Who's telling us the truth? Where can I go to get the facts? In this world, I'm not sure it exists, but praise the Lord we have His Word!! 

The bible is the only place I know I can go to get the facts! It is the only place I can be sure to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Bible is where it's at. 

In reality, we should be "fact checking" everything with it all the time. The world says "All you have to do is follow your heart", but the Bible tells me that "my heart is deceitful and wicked and that I can't even know itJeremiah 17:9. The world says "truth is relative", but the Bible tells me that "Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH and the life, and no one comes to Father but by HimJohn 14:6

This world is lying to you. And this is what we should expect from it since "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one1 John 5:19. Don't get tripped up. Don't get discouraged. I know it's hard to tell what is true these days. It's hard to see through the lies and get to the truth, but we have His word and His word is truth.

The Bible needs to be to "a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathPsalms 119:105

But how can it be unless you read it? How will you use His word to fact check unless you know it? 

It has never been more important than today, for us to be people of His word. Christian: Get in His word today. Read it tomorrow. Open your bible every day. Make it a priority. Make provision for it. Make time to get in the bible for "All Scripture is God breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that you may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work2 Timothy 3:16-17

THE END

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It's time to say good bye to 2016. No matter how you feel about it, we can all agree that it was a crazy year full of surprises, changes, and well craziness.
As I set my sights on a new year I want to make sure I reset my perspective and walk into this year with the right heart and attitude.
First of all, Jesus is still King. No matter what has happened or what will happen, Jesus is and will be King. (Revelation 19:16)
Next, King Jesus told me not to worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34) If I take Jesus' word literally (and I do) and I obey Him (which I want to do) I can just take each day as it comes and trust God to work it all out. What freedom that comes from following King Jesus and doing what He says!
Finally, this is not our home (Hebrews 11:13). We are strangers and pilgrims on the Earth. I must keep an eternal perspective because God always has an eternal perspective. I can't get too caught up in the things of this world. I must walk in the hope of my future with my King. I will live for His Kingdom and not the kingdoms of men.

May 2017 be the year I serve the one true King, King Jesus.

"Hark the Herald"

Hark! the herald angels sing "glory to the newborn King!" Peace on earth, and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled, joyful all ye nations rise join the triumph of the skies with th'angelic host proclaim "Christ is born in Bethlehem." Hark! the herald angels sing "glory to the newborn King!"


Am I alone in saying, "I LOVE CHRISTMAS?" I love everything about it. I love the trimmings.  The traditions and the turkey. I love special times with family and friends. I love giving and getting gifts. And I love singing Christmas songs!!
I can however find it difficult with all of these things to keep my eyes on the real reason for the season. As I was thinking about one of my favorite Christmas songs, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, I wanted to take a minute and reflect on the main reason for this season that is so properly displayed in this wonderful Christmas Classic. 
Glory to the newborn King!! The entire reason for this celebration is to give Glory to Jesus our King. Jesus of course did not stay a baby. He grew up, living a sinless life, dying a sinner's death and rising victoriously over the grave. Jesus came that night into this world to save us from our sins. And Christmas is all for Him. It's ok for me to love all the things that come along with the celebration, but I have to remember that Christmas is not about me, it is all about Him. It is for the Glory of the newborn King!! 
So this Christmas season, as you put up your tree, hang you Christmas lights and sing your favorite songs, make sure that you remember who we are celebrating and make much of His name as you go through the season and bring Glory to our King!    

Wait, What?

I was at dinner with a group of guys when the conversation moved into the expanse of the universe and the awe that this generated in the mind of one particular person at the table. After some discussion I asked him if he believed in God. His initial answer was, "I really don't want to go there, but I can say I don't think I believe in a god the way you do."I encouraged him we should "go there" and asked him to explain what his view was. He explained a point of view that is very "New Age" in it's essence (although he himself did not really know that). He had a real issue believing in a "God who controlled everything and decreed the death of babies and suffering of people in this world". Wait, what? I questioned him, "you think the God of the bible has determined the destiny of every one and everything?",  I asked if he was struggling with The age old questions of how a God that is in control, allows such suffering in this world when He could stop it? I said, "this is the issue of the problem of evil in the world". But he explained it's more the problem of a creator that determines evil that He has an issue with. He couldn't understand how an all loving and all powerful God could choose some for Hell and others for Heaven. Not that he said it this way, but the very idea offended his God given conscience. I told Him that idea offended me too! And I went on to explain the Gospel and try to correct his view of who the bible declares God to be (although I was not really given the time or opportunity to do this thoroughly) He did hear the basics.

 As I have reflected on this conversation I realized that this guy may had clearly received his understanding of who the God of the bible is from those that hold an unbiblical view of God's sovereignty that Calvinism teaches. All 5 points of it. TULIP is based on an extreme and unbiblical view of the doctrine of God's sovereignty. It elevates it beyond the scriptures while ignoring and denying many of God's attributes and scriptures regarding His Love, Mercy, Kindness etc. And here is the effect - a stumbling block to this person who needs Jesus. A person who will perish if they do not place their trust in Him who bore the SINS OF THE WORLD (1John 2:2), not just those God has predetermined He will save. The truth is that this peculiar doctrine called Calvinism (often referred to as the doctrines of grace) are not only unbiblical and dangerous inside the church - but harmful outside as well. John 3:16 - For God So love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life.Pray for Jason. He is a whosoever. 

I am Not a Calvinist

 

As unpopular as it might be today, I am not Reformed in my theology. I am not a Calvinist. However, I am not an Arminiest either. I am just a Christian. I am  a born again, Jesus loving, Bible preaching, Holy Spirit filled Christian. I am seeking to conform my theology to the scriptures and not the other way around. 


I am not a Calvinist, but I absolutely believe and affirm the sovereignty of God. I also affirm the truth and reality of free will. I recognize that we have free will because God sovereignly created us as free moral agents. We would not have it unless He gave it to us. 


I am not a Calvinist, and I do not want to fight with you about it. But with it's growing popularity in the church, I am concerned about it. I am not entirely sure what I can do about it, but I think we need a voice on the other side of the room about it. So that is what I am going to do.I am not a Calvinistbut I am always being transformed by washing and renewing  power of the word of God. I have not arrived, but by the grace of God I am growing. It is the word of God that does this in us. It is the word that should shape, direct, and correct our theology.  


I am not a Calvinist and the truth is, neither are many of the Christians and Pastors who think they are. As I talk with those who say they believe in several or all of the 5 points of Calvinism, I often find out they don't know what they really mean. They believe in biblical truths and think that those truths are what Calvinism teaches. But when they hear and understands what the Calvinist really means by total depravity they are not in agreement. When they see the ramifications of Irresistible Grace they don't agree. So often it's an issue of misunderstanding the terms and maybe some good marketing. 


I am not a Calvinist, but if you are I still love you. I just don't agree with you. We can still fellowship together. I will probably eventually challenge you, because these doctrines are just not biblical. They are man made and I have to speak up. The internet today seems flooded with the voice of the Calvinist. It's time that we hear from the other side of the room. 

"endeavoring to KEEP the unity of the Spirit"

 

Ephesians 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

I love this verse. Because it reminds me of a very important truth. There is unity in The Spirit. He is unified. There is no division in Him. He is not double minded. He is not confused. AND He is the bond of peace that we need to walk in unity together. 

Another important truth we should recognize is that every one who is born again has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. He is the guarantee that we are saved (2 Corinthians 1:22, Romans 8:11). He is the one who quickens us and grafts us into the family of God the moment we believe and put our faith in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18, John 6:63). All who are His have The Spirit living in them. No exceptions. No Spirit, No Salvation. Know the Spirit, Know Salvation. 

So If there is always unity in the Spirit. And the Spirit is dwelling in everyone who trust's Christ for their salvation. Why do we see so much disunity in the church? That is a very good question.

I don't know. You thought I was going to have that answer? Sorry, I really don't know. Oh, I could come up with many reasons, but I must admit I think they are all more like excuses, because the Spirit that is me and that is in you who call on His name is in complete unity. 

But I can say this, The Lord knew His Chruch would struggle with unity. Otherwise there would be no need for the instructions found in Ephesians 4:3. Unity would be automatic. And we all recognize it is not.

So Paul says we are to endeavor to keep the unity. It is not our job to create it (for He is unified already) but we are called to KEEP it. The word endeavoring in the Greek is spoudazō and it speaks of rushing towards with effort and labor. It can even be translated to study. The point is that we should make a speedy effort to KEEP the unity in the Body of Christ.

The way to do this is to get in-line with what the Spirit wants. Because the Spirit that is in me is also in you and He has unity. He is of one-mind. In order for you and me to walk in that perfect unity we must walk in obedience to Him. 

I will know what the Spirit wants by reading and studying His word. I will know what the Spirit wants by spending time in prayer and obeying His leading. As I grow sensitive to His voice I will grow in unity with the body. I can't really make anyone else rush towards unity, but I can labor for it myself. And if we, the local church all do this together as we are connected to each other through the Spirit we will walk in unity. I guarantee it!  

Do all things with the gospel in mind!

WE DESIRE TO DO ALL THINGS WITH THE GOSPEL IN MIND. 

This is the first of 5 Core Value's @ FBC as well as my personal core value as a Pastor. We want the gospel of Jesus Christ to be at the center of everything we do. 1 Timothy 2:4 says who "that is to say God" desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. God wants everyone to be saved through hearing and believing the gospel. After their saved, God wants them to grow up in the faith and be a part of getting more people saved. This is what it means to be a Christian.  To grow in our own relationship with Jesus while introducing more people to Him. Paul said in Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for EVERYONE who BELIEVES. God's desire is that everyone is saved. His method is the preaching of the gospel. And all those that believe WILL be saved. 

Christian; This is why we are still here. To reach this lost and dying world with the life saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Therefore; 

- We must consider our conduct and do all things with the gospel in mind. Ask yourself the question. How will this or that effect my witness? Is what I'm doing helping or hindering the gospel in my life? 

- We must consider our motives and do all things with the gospel in mind. Am I seeking to share truth with my unsaved friend or am I just looking to have a good time with them? Until someone knows Jesus as their personal savior they are in a desperate situation. They are dying in their sins. It is serious. Eternity is literally at stake and YOU have the cure. They desperately need Jesus. You have to tell them about Jesus. 

We talk a lot about this in our house. It is always a work in progress and we are not even close to perfect in this (or any other) area. But I am seeing fruit. My youngest daughter who is 9, has been making serious efforts to share the gospel with kids she meets. She is seeking out ways to share truth with them. She is doing this because she wants them to know Jesus. It is a real blessing, but it's also very convicting. I know I am not always operating in that way. She does't seem to care what they will think of her. Or if she might say the wrong thing. She just wants them to know Jesus. She just wants them to be saved. 

I pray God would do a work in our hearts. That we would stop caring about ourselves so much and the possibility of rejection or the discomfort we might feel by sharing the gospel. I pray we start caring about others enough to introduce them to Jesus. Lets take a cue from my little girl and just tell them about Jesus. 

Lets do all things with the gospel in mind. 

HOW I FEEL ABOUT POLITICS....

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I am not a very political pastor. I do not speak politics from the pulpit very often. Frankly, I probably don't pay as much attention as I should. For that reason I do not have a lot of people asking me my opinion regarding the current state of affairs in the US political arena. 

I hate to disappoint you, but I am not going to give my opinion regarding the current candidates in this blog post either. According to my experience you don't really want to know anyway. 

But I would like to give you something to think about. In Romans Chapter 13 Paul says this "for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" 

The simple truth here is that God places men in power. He has chosen to exercise His sovereignty over this area of life and history. God gives men authority and He takes it away. He puts them in power and He removes them from power. He is in control. He always has been. And always will be.

This truth is extremely comforting to me because God, through His Word has revealed to us a great deal about His character. Knowing that He is infinite in love, full of mercy and grace helps me to cope with the reality I see in our governmental leadership today. God will never do anything that violates His character. When we are challenged by a political leader, I can rest in who God is. He is love. He is full of grace and full of mercy. He never changes. He is 100% consistent. 

The Bible also teaches us that God is completely just. He loves righteousness and hates in-justice. He is the defender of the widow and the orphan. This indeed is a fearful truth when I look at our government today. Is God judging our nation through the leadership He is putting in power? Is God done with our nation? OR can we appeal to His mercy like we read in 2 Chronicles 7 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and HEAL THEIR LAND."?

I can not say I know the mind of God, but I do know my Father and I know I can trust Him. I believe He would heal our land if we would call upon His name in repentance and humbly seek His face. If we would seek him in sincere faith and repentance.

My fear is not in submitting the future into His Hands. My fear is that we will not turn and seek Him. My fear is that we will not place our trust in Him so that He can heal our land. My fear is that we are done with God. Not that He is done with us. 

So what do we do about the politics of the day? About the dark days we live in that seem to be growing darker every day?

Repent. Humbly turn to God. Seek His face. Submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Trust Him and Pray! For God has not left the throne. He is Infinite in love. He is full of mercy and grace. He can heal our land. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and HEAL THEIR LAND."

World View

The term “world view” is a central topic of the 2nd Core Value for us here @ FBC. Most people have probably heard the term, but many do not really know what it means. Have you ever wondered how someone can hear the same speech from a Presidential Candidate and come away with a completely different opinion than you? Or how other people see major social issues in such a completely different way? It all boils down to tour world views. 

At the core of everyone’s world view there resides a set of absolutes. I would venture to say that the majority of people have not taken the time to examine their own world view and the reasons for it, let alone the absolutes it’s built on. Some world views are even held up by the absolute that there are no absolutes. But all of them have a some combination of experience, personal preference, religious influence and cultural beliefs. As well as the influence of movies, music the education system and focused advertisement. 

What ever it may be, everyone has a world view. We are all interpreting the world around us from a view point that is shaped by our core beliefs. By our absolutes. Your world view is like a pair of glasses. And all the information about the world around you is filter through the lens of those glasses. Like the saying - “looking at the world through rose colored glasses”. 

So as a christian, what shapes my world view. What kind of glasses do I wear? 

The easy answer is a “biblical” world view. And this is true, however it goes a little deeper than that. I would say I have a Godly world view. That is a world view that has it’s absolutes fixed firmly in WHO GOD IS. Of course the bible is the source of this knowledge and therefore a biblical world view is also the correct answer. 

I would suggest however that my trust is in the one who said it! Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. This is an amazing promise of scripture. It’s one that I think of often and and am so thankful for. But it only has power because of the one who said it. Because God declared it. 

My world view as a Christian is firmly fixed on the absolutes of who God is. It's rooted In His attributes. God is Holy. He is full of mercy, grace and truth. He is patient. He possesses all wisdom. He is Just. He is always right. God is omniscient (knows everything) Omnipotent (has all the power) and is omnipresent (is everywhere at the same time). He is good. He is faithful. He is immutable (never changes). God is Light and He is Love.

As a follower of Jesus, these are the absolutes that shape my world view. 

What shapes yours?

Do you believe the Gospel?

Core # 1.jpg

Do you believe the Gospel?

If you are a Christian your answer is YES. Yes I do. I believe the gospel. I am a christian after all and that is how I am saved. I believe it. I do!!

Great! Amen. I am sure you do and I am glad you do, but do you really believe what Paul said about the Gospel in Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes: 

Do you believe that it is the Power of God to salvation for EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES? I trust that you believe it is the power of God to save you, but what about your children? Your neighbor, co-worker, boss, or friend? What about the radical muslim, passionate atheist or hardened criminal? Can the gospel save them too?

Do you believe that the one thing they all need more than anything else, is to believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins? Do you believe that without Him they will perish. John 3:16 says For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son and whosoever believes in Him will not PERISH but have eternal life. Do you believe this? Do you really? Do you recognize that people are perishing? Good people. People that live good lives and try to be good to others. With out Jesus they are perishing. It’s that cut and dry. It’s that black and white. Know Jesus, Know life. No Jesus, No life. This is literally a life and death situation. 

Do you believe with all that is in you, that the Gospel can do in them what it has done in you? 

If so…. What are you doing about it? Who are you telling? If we believe like Paul that the gospel is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes”: than we MUST do something about it. Nothing else can take priority. We must reach them with the gospel. We must do all things with the gospel in mind. We must move with urgency. We must. 

So I ask you again, do you really believe the gospel?

Then really do something about it.

Looking Forward

Last week, December 27th 2015 we had a wonderful time looking back at our heritage with a Throwback Sunday. We remembered those that passed down to us the knowledge of our faith in their words and their  actions. NOW on January 3rd 2016 we look forward to the great things God is doing here @ FBC. We are starting the new year by re-focusing together on one Vision. We will re-focus together on a set of core values born from our vision that will shape the very core of this church body.

 

The Vision God has given for our Church:

 

MAKING DISCIPLES IN OUR CHURCH FAMILY, OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND BEYOND THROUGH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

 

Our Core Values:

 

1            We desire to do all things with the Gospel in mind

2            We study to conform our world view through the lens of God's word

3            We strive to love, serve and prefer one another in the love of Jesus Christ

4            We determine to be a praying church

5            We will make the worship of Jesus the foundation of our lives

 

You don’t want to miss a single week of this 6 week series as we put some meet on these and set the ground work for the great word God is doing here at FBC.

God Bless

Pastor Adam

A Good Reminder

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (paraphrase)

Do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear someone cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.

Wow, I needed this reminder. Because I am often hurt by others from the same things I am guilty of doing myself. The truth is "my heart has known that even I have cursed others". These verses could probably be taken (individually) in many different ways, but for me this morning they spoke of God's grace. 

I am a child of God. I have been redeemed and forgiven. I am accepted, not because I have earned it, but by God's grace alone through faith alone. The righteousness of Jesus has been imputed to me because I have repented (agreed with God regarding my sin and turned from it to Him) and believed (in Jesus, His death and resurrection that has paid for my sins). God's grace has made me right with Him in spite of me, not because of me. By His righteousness, not mine. 

With this in mind, I can take Solomon's words and apply it, so I remember to show others the same grace God has shown me. Especially when I recognize that I am not doing any better then they are for "my own heart has known that even I have cursed others". Then I can "not take to heart everything people say" but instead I can allow forgiveness to cover and grace to shine bringing Glory our Gracious God and Savior Jesus Christ.  

 

Nick @ Night

Nick @ Night

John 3:16 is a very familiar verse to most of us, and even for those who don't generally read the Bible. It contains a beautifully simple view of the Gospel. Believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life. But have you ever heard of Nicodemus? He was the one these famous words were first spoken to. 

Nick came to Jesus one night to seek truth and understanding regarding the Kingdom of God. After acknowledging that Jesus must be from God because His signs and miracles; Jesus gets right to it by telling him, “you must be born again to see the Kingdom of God”. 

Nick tries to make sense of this statement with a question regarding physical birth, and Jesus comes back with “you must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God for that which is flesh is flesh and that which is Spirit is Spirit”. 

Jesus goes on to remind Nick of an event recorded in Numbers 21. In this account, these fiery serpents came into the campsent by God as judgment for their sin. If you got bit by one if these things it was sure death. The people came to Moses repenting and asking him to pray for them. He pleaded with God for the people and God told him to make a Golden Serpent and hang it on a pole in the middle of the camp. If anyone was bit, they where told to look at the serpent and believe that God would heal them and He did. Some would look and others would not. Those that did were healed, those that did not perished. 

Jesus says to Nick regarding this event; in John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

The crazy thing about this story from John is who this was said to. You see, Nick was a Pharisee. This may not mean much to you today, but during Jesus’ time it meant a lot. These guys belonged to an exclusive group of extreme law keepers. When it came to doing the law they where like ninjas and Nicodemus was one of their leaders. Jesus said to Nick, All your law keeping and good doing is not enough. You have to be born again. This is the only way. I am the only way. You must put your faith in me Nick, and I will save you from your sin, giving you eternal life. 

You might be asking yourself “where does this whole thing talk about sin’? Well remember John 3:16? It has this word we like to pass over with out giving much thought. It’s the word perish. Jesus said to Nick - You won’t Perish if you believe which by default is telling him you will perish if you chose not to believe (just like the those bitten by the serpent. Perish from what? From Sin. You see you have to keep going in for John 3:17-21 where it says: 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” 

Jesus said this to Nicodemus who is in a sense the best humanity has to offer. How do you stack up? Are you a law keeping Ninja? Even if you where (and we both know you are not) Jesus would say YOU must be born again. You must believe in me or you will perish in judgment of your sin.

The Glorious truth of the Gospel is that you don’t have to be a law keeping Ninja (which is good because we can’t). You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to repent of your sin (agree with God it is sin and turn from it to Him) and believe that Jesus paid for it all by dying on the cross and conquered death for you by rising from the grave

Put your trust in Jesus today. Repent and turn to Him in faith. Believe God raised Him from the dead. Jesus loves you. He gave it all to prove it.