Month: August 2016

Our teens leading the worship on August 14th

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GFL reens leading the worship during the morning service.  Great job guys and girls.  Hope to see much more of you serving in this way.

 

Giving attitudes

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John 12

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

 

Our attitude toward church money might be depicted in this passage.  Mary came and lavishly worshipped the Lord Jesus.  She spent nearly an entire year’s wages on this lavish worship.  She gave freely and she gave from a heart filled with love and awe for the Savior.  To me, Mary depicts the church who understands that the purpose of church money is to give it away to show the love of Christ to those in their community and around the world.  Churches that are open with their money become known for their open hearts.

On the other hand, Judas saw this lavish worship and immediately went to committee.  How could this woman waste all of this money one on event?  Shouldn’t she have let them oversee her gift so they could have sold some of it and used some of it in worship?  Wouldn’t this money have greater benefited the group as a whole than being lavishly “wasted” on one act of worship?  To me, Judas depicts the tight-fisted church that saves hundreds of thousands of dollars just in case they need it someday.  This is the church that turns away the needy and does not increase their missions support but has financial goals to stock-pile their income for a “rainy day.”

When we were at Victory Homes, I travelled over 50,000 miles every year going to church after church letting them know that we had financial and prayer needs to reach those troubled boys for Christ.  We lived on a shoe-string.  God provided, we ate.  We were in all sizes of churches, churches that could have really been a help to a struggling ministry.  Very few churches rose to the occasion of our need. I learned then that the Christian church is supposed to collect money to pay their bills and to give money away.  When the bottom line is people we should not be stock-pilers but givers.  Judas was a stock-piler; Mary was a giver.  Jesus received Mary’s gift and worship but he rebuked Judas for his attitude toward Mary’s gift.

Let us learn to be more like Mary in our giving.  Give to worship and worship with abandon and awe.  We are giving to Christ Himself with all of our acts of worshipful giving.

Ben and Anna left this morning.  Their pod was packed yesterday; their car was full this morning. It is a beautiful day to travel and they are off to a new chapter in their lives.  What a joy they have been to us as they have served us and we have served with them.  They are ready to step into this new opportunity at Foothills Bible Church with both feet and even at a run.  It is a great opportunity and we are thankful that God used us to prepare them for this.  No, it is not easy to say goodbye, tears flow.  Yes, it is joyous to see them go on in their service for Christ. 

Thank you to all who came by Sunday to make our going away party such a wonderful day for them.  Ben and Anna were in awe at the outpouring of love and friendship that you lathered on them.  Bobbi and I were thrilled to see so many come by and enjoy our time with them.  The yard was full, the pool was packed, and all the food was eaten.  It was a good day. 

Pray for Mike Sell as he begins to lead the youth group this Wednesday night.  We are thankful that Mike is with us and that he wants this responsibility.  He has already shown himself to be faithful to the Lord, to the Word, and to God’s call on his life.  Mike is still a full-time student so he will need help with the youth.  If you are interested please come see me. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Hanging out at church with Mike

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We would like to welcome Mike as the new main man in amongst the teenagers!! 

Worshiping with Abandon

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John 12

1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

The action of Mary to Jesus was an act of full-hearted worship.  She gave something of great value to Him because He had done such a great miracle for her.  Her gift was neither compulsory nor obligatory.  Her gift was not a payback for His kindness. Her gift was pure worship from an overflowing heart.

Jesus had brought Mary’s brother out of the tomb and had presented him alive to her and Martha.  Lazarus was fully recovered from his sickness and was sitting up eating lunch with Jesus.  This was a miracle of the Lord Jesus for which Mary was going to be grateful as long as she lived.  So, Mary had a plan.  When Jesus came to their home again, she was going to give to Him her most valuable possession.  He kept talking about being buried so she was going to prepare Jesus for His burial.  Yes, she could have sold her burial perfume for a lot of money and given the money to Jesus but she wanted to worship Him with it.

By pouring out the precious and costly ointment on Jesus feet, by weeping with her gift, she was showing the fullness of her worship.  She did not care who saw her worship for that did not matter to her.  She was simply overcome with gratitude for the resurrecting Savior and could not hold back her offering and her tears.

We need to notice something else here; Jesus willingly and fully received Mary’s worship.  This is important.  Later, Peter and James and Paul and Silas would not receive the worship of men when miracles were done by them. They knew they were mere men.  But Jesus, who knew that He was God, willingly and fully received Mary’s worship.  My friends, when we worship Jesus with abandon for resurrecting our lives from their deadness toward Him, when we worship the Lord for saving our eternal souls, that worship should be both costly and with abandon.  We should not care who is next to us as we give Him the greatest worship that our regenerate hearts can muster.

Please be in prayer for Sunday.  I plan to bring a message from Isaiah 65:17 on the New Jerusalem and how that reality should affect our attitudes today.  I think it will be an encouraging message as we look into God’s future for us and what that future can do for us today. 

If you took a questionnaire about the church merge please bring that back on Sunday. 

This Sunday is a special day for us as it is Ben and Anna’s last day with us.  The teens will be bringing the music for the service and we will honor Ben for his work with our teens and our church music. After the service, Bobbi and I are inviting everyone over to our yard for a luncheon.  If you want to bring a baby gift for little Ben or Anna this is our opportunity.  This will be a relaxed event for all of you to spend some time with them before they leave. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Whom can God use to give His message?

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John 11

47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”

49 And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

 

Whom does God use?  Whom does God speak through? Here we see God giving a message through the High Priest who wanted to kill Jesus.  Caiaphas eventually did just that when he delivered Jesus to Pilate for crucifixion.  But before that happened, God spoke directly through this enemy of Jesus!

Perhaps the men who heard Caiaphas that day did not fully understand the significance of what was said, but John, who recorded it, surely understood.  Yes, God needed one Man to die for the sins of all of the people.  No, the whole nation did not need to perish in their sin.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, was going to take away the sin of the world and dying for the nation would provide salvation for all who came to faith in Him.  Thank you God for using Caiaphas to proclaim so wonderful a message to us all.

Then John added something to Caiaphas’ words.  He told us that Jesus did not die for one nation only, Israel, but He died to gather in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.  Those people, my friends, are us.  Jesus died for the nation of Israel to save them from their sins.  Jesus also died to gather all nations of all generations to Himself so that all people made in His image could be saved.

Throughout the Bible we see the call of God to the Gentile nations.  When the Jews rejected Paul he committed his life to reaching the Gentiles with the Gospel of God.  Our God is not a one-nation God but is the God of the universe who loves all people of all nations.  It was for us all that Christ died and as Caiaphas made this prophecy so we enjoy God’s gift of His Son.   Whom can you share this Gospel with today?  Ask God to show you someone that you can tell of Jesus Christ, His grace, and His sacrifice for their sin.  If God can use Caiaphas, surely He can use us.

Tonight is our regular prayer time and Bible study.  Before the kids get back to school come join us for a great time of spiritual warfare preparation.  We battle the enemies in prayer then we get fed and strengthened from the Word.  The teens are meeting early at my house for a last night with Ben and Anna. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

What do we Need from God? – Isaiah 64-65

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In asking what we need from God the answers go from comfort to health to security to other thoughts that orbit making our lives better. In Isaiah 64 the Jews in captivity wanted God to make their lives better. In Isaiah 65 God wanted to show them mercy. This important message reminds us what we really need from God, and that, is mercy.