Month: September 2016

Greater works than Jesus did?

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John 14

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

 

The God of heaven makes a seeming strange and unrealistic promise here.  Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who had done some amazing miraculous works in His life on earth, promised His disciples that they would do greater works than He did.  Then He told them that whatever they asked in His name for the glory of the Father would be done.

I have tried to walk on water, I have prayed over very sick people and even laid hands on them as I prayed, I have blessed countless meals and have been to many funerals.  I must confess that no, I can’t walk on water and no, I have never healed anyone nor raised anyone from the dead.   In fact, after the works of Peter and John and Paul there were not any more such miraculous works.

So what was Jesus talking about?  One of the greatest works of Jesus’ life might have been the raising of Lazarus from the dead.  After four days of death there was no question as to his lifeless condition.  The sisters were totally put out that Jesus did not come to heal their brother.  The crowd thought that Jesus had really missed this opportunity.  But Jesus, God in the flesh, called Lazarus out of the tomb-cave and back from death.  Jesus presented Lazarus alive to his sisters and sat down to eat with him.  But Lazarus did eventually die again.

When we show someone the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and that person, led by the Holy Spirit’s calling, receives the grace of God, the forgiveness of their sins, they receive eternal life.  My friends, the leading of an eternal soul to eternal life is a greater work than Jesus ever did.  When we present the gospel to someone we are attacking the gates of hell and opening for them the eternal gates of heaven.  We are on a search and rescue mission saving souls from eternal damnation.  What greater work is there?  Everything else that is done in this life is temporary including all of the miracles of Jesus.  Only when we lead someone to Jesus is an eternal miracle done.

Jesus wants us to pray for the lost to be saved.  As we pray for souls for the glory of God the Father, our prayers are answered.  Keep praying and keep talking about your Savior.  God has promised that His word will not return void but will accomplish that which He has directed it to do.  So, get out and do greater works.

 

Men, tomorrow morning is our monthly prayer breakfast at Denny’s at 7:30.

Sunday is our dinner day at church and Sunday we are celebrating Jean Wardell’s 100 birthday!  Bring her a card and a greeting for this amazing time in her life.  We are so thankful that Jean is in our church. What an amazing person and devout Saint of God.  

For any of your senior citizens, Saturday at 3:00 is the annual “Singing for Seniors” concert at Community Christian Church.  (The Yellow Box)  I mention this because Stefani and I are singing a duet. This is a free event for all senior citizens who can come. 

I will be announcing on Sunday the need for nursery workers during the Revival week.  If you can sign up for one night please do. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Three churches in one unified service

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On September 18th, a Korean church, an Indian church and an English church gathered for one service. All three congregations use the same building every Sunday but this Sunday they met together to get a glimpse of what heaven might be like. It was a glorious time. The entire service is here recorded. Join, The Lord’s Church, Bethel Prayer House, and Grace for Life Bible Church as they worshiped God as one body.

See it, then believe, or just believe

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John 14

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

 

What is it about the human way that we want so badly to see something to believe it?  Missouri is called, “the show me” State.  Somewhere along the line people of Missouri became known for their need to see-it-to-believe-it.  Philip must have been the original Missourian.  He told Jesus that if Jesus would simply peel back the curtain of heaven and show them the Father on His throne they would have been sufficient in their faith.

It is easy to criticize Philip while thinking in the exact same way as he did.  If only God would make His will as plain as the eggs on my plate this morning.  If only God would completely heal my sick friend.  If only God would let me win the lottery.  If only God would fix my marriage.  If only God would bring me a spouse.  If only God would… then I would really believe in Him.  We put God up to these challenges hoping that He will want us to believe in a way that makes sense to us.

What Philip didn’t say was that he was struggling with his faith and one quick vision would really help him.  Is that not what is behind our plea for something more tangible than a clear view of Jesus?  We have more of Jesus than Philip had.  For while Philip could see and touch Jesus, he was still wanting a King Jesus not a suffering and dying Jesus.  It wasn’t until after the resurrection that any of the disciples, figured it all out.  We have the whole story unfolded for us.  We have Revelation 1 where John saw the risen King in all of His glory.  We have a better view of Jesus than Philip had.

So we too must note the words of Jesus.  If we have seen Christ we have seen the Father.  Jesus was an exact replica of the Father and showed us all of the attributes of the Father.  Jesus was God in the flesh, the incarnation of God.  To study Jesus is to study God. Look to Christ. Lift Him up.  Make Jesus important in your life and conversations.  It was Christ who said, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto myself.”  We don’t need to see more of God; we need to have faith in the God who has already been revealed.

On Saturday we are having a youth band practice.  I announced it from 12:00- 1:00.  I need to move it forward an hour from 11:00 to 11:45.  Please be on time as I really have to leave at 11:45. 

Sunday morning I will be finishing Isaiah 66.  The last verse of the chapter deals with those who don’t make it into God’s eternal city.  The emphasis of Sunday’s message will be the eternal damnation of those who don’t believe.  Pray with me about this important biblical topic in a day when people are longing to be rid of all human and divine judgment. 

The video of the Combined church service is now on the website.  It is long but it is enjoyable. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

There is only One way, truth and life

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John 14

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

 

I would suppose that the Holy Spirit has used these words of Jesus to bring millions of hearts to follow Christ.  There are none other so definitive that put the full emphasis of salvation on one Person and one Person alone.  We don’t need to understand all of the world religions, no, we just need to understand that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and that no one can come to the eternal Father except through Him.

Thomas, expressing his own humanity, was looking for an answer to Jesus’ teaching that He was preparing a place and He was coming again and they would know the way.  Poor Thomas, he struggled so with face value faith.  Thomas does, however, typify many people of all ages.  When faced with the clear teaching they look for one more answer.  So Jesus, ever patient with His own, clarifies for Thomas and for us all.   “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.“

 

My friends, we don’t need another way.  We don’t need another truth.  We don’t need another life-giver for we have all that we need in Jesus Christ.  I fear that Christmas and Easter have lessened our view of Jesus Christ.  We see Him as a helpless babe in a manger and as a suffering man on a cross.  While Jesus was those He is so much more.  He is absolutely God and can thus say that HE is the only needed way, truth and life.

 

Are you trusting Christ fully or do you have your spiritual eyes on something else just in case?  Are you enamored by some other religion that seems to have some really interesting teachings?  Are you joining Thomas in doubting the words of Christ?  Focus today on these wonderful words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 

The Bible teaches us over and over of the need for prayer.  History is filled with movements of God that began with prayer.  I believe in prayer’s importance.  Join me tonight as we again take time from our busy schedules to cry out to God in prayer for Him to break hearts and save souls.

 

Many of our teens were involved this morning in an annual event called,  “See you at the pole.”  It is an opportunity for high school students to meet at the school flag pole before school for prayer.  May God bless you teens for getting up a little earlier and showing up at this great opportunity for Christ.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Jesus is preparing a place, believe it

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John 14:1–5

1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

There are several great reasons to not allow the issues of this life to trouble us. Jesus brings the first and foremost to the top of the list: This earth, this life, is not our final home nor our final family.

 

Now, how much time, energy, and emotion is spent on trying to live here and trying to make family stuff work? I would say that it takes a boat-load of my time and energy and emotions to keep it all together, and then, when it falls apart, the weight becomes almost crushing. So, what should we do? Jesus wants us to remember that He has gone to prepare an eternal place for us and that He is coming back to receive us into Himself and to His prepared place. The goal of the Savior, His end game, if you may, is for us to be at peace with Him forever.

 

But, instead of rejoicing we usually take the attitude of Thomas, which was one of great doubt. We don’t know where Jesus went, we can’t see what He has prepared for us, we don’t know when He is coming back for us, and no one who has ever gone has come back to tell us all about it.   We are so mired in the stuff of this life that we can’t even begin to get an eternal perspective. Oh, put Thomas’s faithless objections aside and look to Jesus. He has gone to prepare a place for us and since He has gone to do so He is coming back to receive us to Himself so that we can enjoy Him and the place that He has prepared.

 

Have you ever prepared a party for someone who doubted if it was for them? Suppose you had decorations, presents, food, a cake and guests but the birthday girl decided the party wasn’t really for her so she did not think you cared. You might go to her, drag her to your house, and show here all of the preparations and the people gathered for her to make her believe that she was prepared for. Jesus has gone to prepare our eternal joy. When we get there we will know it was prepared for us. Let us not doubt the Savior’s love and care for us just because we can’t see the preparations yet.

 

My schedule has prohibited me to keep up with these devotionals. However, things are back to normal so I should be more consistent in getting them out. Thank you for your patience and even for opening and reading them.

 

We spent yesterday at Victory Academy for Boys. One of their boys has already trusted Christ this school year! Hallelujah! Pray for C. to grow in his faith and to have a hunger for discipleship. Other boys are not so interested so do keep them all in your prayers that they might hear the call of God to salvation.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Take the Gospel to someone

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2 Corinthians 10:14–16

14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ.

15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged,

16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.

When we are the first persons to bring the gospel to people we can rejoice in that opportunity. From that first encounter our goal should be to see their faith increase.   This is our primary goal in teaching, discipleship, and edification. It is faith in God that pleases God. It is living apart from faith that is sin. Therefore, we are to ever demonstrate the need for continued and increasing faith.

 

As the faith in the new believer grows, we, the mature ones, should look with them for others to minister to. When a church stops reaching people they soon lose contact with people to reach.

 

The message of the Gospel is the greatest single message of all of history yet we seem not to have people that we know to take this great message to. If we are going to see people come to Christ then all of us are going to need to find people to whom we can take the message of Christ. If needed, take someone with greater maturity than you have with you but go with the intent of giving the message of salvation to those beyond you.

 

Tomorrow there is a very important meeting taking place in Naperville. This meeting is for the spiritual well-being of our community. Over 350 people are going to be gathering for prayer. We are gathering for the express purpose of seeking God’s face and God’s guidance and God’s power to reach our community with God’s gospel. My friends, this prayer time is more important than anything else you are doing. God is at work and we are gathering to cry out to Him as people saved by His grace and through Christ’s blood.

 

Pray! Naperville is gathering at 2:00 at the Grand Pavilion (west of Centennial Beach). There will be prayer time, worship time, and challenge time throughout the two-hour meeting. The primary goal is to listen to God and to cry out to God. There will be a band playing from 1:30-2:00. Come to pray.

 

Sunday morning I will be bringing another message from Isaiah 66 focusing on the promise of God to keep His word. The challenge that we have in believing that God will keep His word is that what God predicts seems utterly impossible.

 

Have a great day in the Lord.

PS

Let not your heart be troubled

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John 14

1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

Jesus had just said some really troubling things.  He announced that one of them was going to betray him.  In their wildest nightmares none of them ever considered that the death blow to Jesus would come from within.  They knew that the religious establishment hated the Savior but that the final attack would come from one of the twelve?  This was troubling.

Jesus told them that He was going to leave them.  You have to remember that these men were awaiting the establishment of God’s kingdom in Jerusalem and Jesus was going to be the King of it all, yes, the King that defeated Rome and set up God’s rule on the earth.  They even argued about who would be on the thrones closest to the King’s throne!  They were ready for glory, that’s for sure.  (In fact, Judas was probably the first one to figure out that it wasn’t going to happen and so in disgust he sold Jesus for something which was better than the others were going to get.)  Yes, they were troubled about Jesus leaving them.

Jesus told Peter, the loudest and most loyal of them all, that he was going to betray the Master before the dawn of the next day.  What!  Peter?  Within hours?  Had Jesus lost His mind?  None of them would betray Jesus and especially not Peter; didn’t Jesus call him the rock?  Oh how troubling this announcement was to them all.

So after Satan entered Judas and he left the room, the others thinking him on an errand for Jesus, the Lord began to speak words of comfort to his troubled disciples.  Jesus knew the events that were forthcoming and knew that it was going to be the darkest night in history and that the disciples would immediately feel it the most.  Though the disciples did not know what was ahead, Jesus did and He sought to care for them by preparing them.  The Lord still does this.  He who knows the events of your day would like to prepare you for those events.  He does not want our hearts troubled when He knows we are facing troubling times.  No, Jesus wants us to believe in Him.  “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

No matter what happens, never allow your faith in God and in His Son, the Lord Jesus, to waver.  We might face troubling times but we do not have to be troubled in them.  We know the Father and the Son who have all things under control and we know that they love us and have our lives at the center of their care.  Let not your heart be troubled.

While I enjoy every Sunday with our church family, this past Sunday will go down as one of the greatest days we have had. The sharing of the service with our Korean and Indian brothers and sisters truly was a “taste of heaven.”  We had people there born and come from seven different countries and three different Indian states.  Besides Indian and Korea, we had people born in Germany, South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, and the U.S.  We heard praise to God in Korean and in Telugu and in English.  God understood it all.  We shared the Lord’s Table across all cultural lines and rejoiced together in the Lord Jesus who made this all possible.  It was a day of bringing glory to God that none of us will soon forget.  Thanks to the Lord’s Church and to Bethel Prayer House for taking their Sunday services with ours and making one great voice of praise to our wonderful Creator and God.

I asked last week for prayer for my dad’s strength.  He is getting stronger.  I think he wants to do more than he should so we have wrestling matches to see if he can or not.  I am glad he wants to get out, that is a good sign. 

Pray for Steven and the First Baptist Church of Big Rock.  Last Sunday Steven was able to preach the gospel to a few hundred people who gathered together for Sunday service after the plowing competition on Saturday.  Pray with us that some who heard will be drawn by the Holy Spirit to salvation and to Big Rock Baptist this next Sunday. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS