Month: October 2016

The intolerant will persecute the exclusive

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John 16

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.

Jesus predicted that His followers would be persecuted and would even be killed by those who think they are serving God.  If there is one thing that religious people hate, it is the exclusive statements of Jesus Christ.  John 14:6 has to be the most hated verse in the Bible for it is the most exclusive statement that Jesus made.  We who love the Lord and are followers of Him rejoice in His exclusive claims and rally around them.  He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.  Apart from Christ there isn’t a way, a truth or life.

In a world that teaches tolerance to children from day care all the way through grad school, you would think that they would be tolerant of Jesus Christ, but no, they are not.  As we well know, if we want to bring a conversation to a screeching halt all we have to do is to tell them that we are followers of Jesus Christ and would like to introduce them to Him.  People have a willingness to talk about anything and any religion except the exclusive Way, Truth and Life.

My friends, this anti-tolerance of Jesus is nothing new.  According to church history, most of the Apostles were martyred.  Many first century Christians were persecuted for their faith in the exclusive Christ.  Down through history and even today people lose their jobs, their families, and their lives when they become followers of the Lord Jesus.  What should we do?  We are not to hide our light under a bushel but to put it in front for all to see. There are those around us who in the darkness of this life are looking for a Light but don’t know where to look.  It is to them that we shine the Light.  Thank God someone shown His light to us.  Let us be proclaimers of the exclusive Way.

Tonight is our last night of revival meetings for 2016.  We are thankful to God for the spiritual feeding that we have received each night.  Just to remind you one more time, tonight we will be serving dinner and having service at regular times but at First Baptist Church of Big Rock where Steven is the pastor.  They are looking forward to us coming and we are looking forward to a blessed time together.  It was nearly a year ago when we went out for Steven’s installment service and enjoyed our day together.  If you need directions, look at yesterday’s devotional.  I pasted them in it.

Thanks to those who stayed last night to help clean the church!  It is all clean and ready for Sunday.  It really did not take too long as we were home by 9:30. 

Sunday morning I plan to begin our march through 2 Corinthians.  Paul begins by telling who the letter is to.  From this introduction we will be looking at the teaching on the New Testament church.  Whether you have been in church you whole life or are new in church you will find this message to be helpful as to why we “do” church.  I have enjoyed the study and look forward to bringing it to our church.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Rejection of men but filled with God’s Spirit

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John 15

25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The Lord Jesus was ever conscious of the prophesies made that He was fulfilling.  Psalm 35:19, 69:4 and 109:3-5 all reference men’s hatred of Christ without a cause. Jesus is reminding us that in Him we too may be hated without cause.  Just for living righteously the Christ follower may be truly hated by the God-hater.

When that happens, Jesus goes on to tell us that He is sending, (has now sent), His Holy Spirit of truth to testify within us the reality of Jesus.  This is important when we are hated without a cause.  We don’t like rejection and when those around us do reject us we may waffle on our position because we want to be accepted.  At those times look inside and find the Holy Spirit agreeing with your righteous actions.  There is nothing quite like God’s pat on the back telling us that we have done the right thing before Him.

The indwelling Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and testifies within us the truths of Christ.  He continually confirms those truths to our soul and mind enabling us to stand for truth even by ourselves.  For forty years now I have enjoyed the indwelling Holy Spirit in my life.  He constantly confirms the Word of God to me.  He is ever there to hear my cry and to guide me. He gives me comfort from God in the darkest hours. And the Holy Spirit confirms to my heart the joy of Christ in providing my salvation thus filling me with His joy at all times.  I am not special; I do possess the Holy Spirit who makes all of the difference.

 

Our revival with Brent Sivnksty is going very well.  We are thankful for Brent’s commitment to communicate the Word of God to us. Last night we had some unsaved in the crowd and are praying today for their salvation.  One man responded to the Lord’s calling and was dealt with about coming back to the Lord.

We are at Grace for Life again tonight then tomorrow night we will be at the First Baptist Church of Big Rock.  201 Lincoln Street, Big Rock. For those who need directions to the church, here they are from our church:

23.2 mi. About 31 mins

1. Head north on S River Rd 1.4 mi
2. Turn right onto Raymond Dr 1.2 mi
3. Turn left onto Diehl Rd 0.9 mi
4. Turn right onto IL-59 N 0.4 mi
5. Turn left to merge onto I-88 W

Toll road

9.4 mi
6. Take the IL-56 W exit toward US-30/IL-47/Sugar Grove 0.7 mi
7. Continue onto IL-56 W 3.5 mi
8. Continue onto US-30 W 5.4 mi
9. Turn left onto Rhodes St 0.2 mi
10. Turn right at the 3rd cross street onto 3rd St 400 ft
11. Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Lincoln Ave

Destination will be on the left

 

We will be serving the revival restaurant at First Baptist from 6:00-6:45.  Bobbi is making a chicken dinner that night.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Hated for loving and truth-telling

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John 15

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

None of us wants to be hated by those around us neither do we want an excuse to throw up when someone hates us.  Jesus is not telling us here that it is good to be hated and that we should do things to be hated.  I have known Christians who took pride in being different and threw their differences up into the faces of the lost around them and when they were scorned took the scorn as a fulfillment of Jesus’ teaching.

In this teaching, Jesus is telling us that when we live as He lived, when He lives in us and through us that those who hate Him are going to hate us.  No, we do not do things to aggravate the lost; we just live before them as Jesus lived.  How did Jesus live?  He lived loving all people.  He lived doing good to all that He could do good to. He lived separate from sin.  He lived separate from false religion.  He lived in submission to God the Father and Jesus lived to tell the truth about life, sin, judgment, and eternal life.

The lost world wants our kindness but does not want God’s truth. When we include truth with kindness we will be hated like Jesus was.  When we include submission to God in our good works we will be hated.  For though they call us haters for not supporting their sinful lifestyles we really are the lovers who love all people for Jesus’ sake.  When the world hates us for giving out God’s truth in submission to His leading, we are in good company.  Give them kindness and truth anyway.

We are two days into our revival week.  We have four days left.  As our evangelist walks through the book of Titus we are learning how God wants us to live and to pray.  We are also learning songs of praise to God to carry with us throughout the week.  Do join us tonight at 6:00 for taco dinner and 7:00 for God’s great nourishment for our souls. 

Remember that Friday night we are taking our revival out to the First Baptist Church of Big Rock.  Same time for revival restaurant and for service. 

Pray for a lunch appointment that I have today. 

Brent is bring the message today at Sunrise Assisted Living. Pray for open minds and hearts there.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

An intro to 2 Corinthians – What is important to God?

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As we begin a new series in 2 Corinthians we see that God wants us to have a right view of Him. Join us for this series and get in on the first message.

 

Show love anyway

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John 15

17 These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

Abiding in the Vine, receiving its’ energy for life, enables us to love like no others.  The energy of Jesus Christ flowing through us enables us to love people with His love.  This morning, in France, a refuge center, called the Jungle, which houses over 8,000 people, is being cleared out.  I wish I lived in France and could somehow minister Christ to these frustrated people who for safety reasons have, with their families, fled their home countries.  The love of Christ in us should see hurting people and cry out for them.

Are we loving when we tell people that we hope they do well?  Jesus said that we are loving when we give to meet their needs.  Whom have you loved recently?  Whom have you given to so that their need could be met?  Loving people with Christ’s love is expensive.  We can be called upon to give money or time in the action of love.

Oddly enough, the world will hate us when we show love.  That is OK, they hated Jesus too.  Show love anyway.  Our world is filled with prejudice that says certain people deserve their condition.  When we reach across those lines to show love some think us foolish.  Show love anyway.  Jesus did.

 

We had a great start to our revival week.  You don’t want to miss even one night!  Join us in the revival marathon and let’s finish it together, rejoicing in all that God has done for us and through us.  Be sure to invite a friend to come with you. On Tuesday night our teens will be presenting two songs and leading us in worship of our Savior. 

Remember that the revival restaurant opens at 6:00 each evening.  Tonight’s menu is chicken and dumplings.  See you there.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

What a wonderful relationship God calls us to

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John 15

15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.

 

The relationship that God offers us through Christ should constantly amaze us and bring us joy.  We were slaves of sin and son’s of Satan.  Jesus taught this in John 8:44 and Paul taught it in Romans 6.  As children of darkness and death we had no hope in this world.  We lived atheist lives separated from God.  In love, God the Father sent God the Son to purchase our redemption, that is, Jesus bought us out of the slave market of sin and through His blood the Father adopted us into His family.

We who were slaves of sin become slaves to God and in turn He makes us His sons and daughters, eternally adopted from the family of sin into the family of the redeemed.  Jesus then goes one step further and calls us friends letting us know that as His friends He makes the Father’s will known to us!

Finally, all of this wonderful transformation takes place because God the Father has chosen us and appointed us to bear His fruit and to answer our prayers.  There is not a religion in the world, made from the mind of man, which could ever devise this plan.  No, this is the work of a relational God who desires to be close to, with, His created people.  He who created us and then lost us to sin devised a way for us to get back to Him and called us back to Himself.   We the estranged ones are brought back with full family benefits by the love and grace of God the Father.

Then, we are taught to love one another.  How can we who have been loved so deeply do any less than love others with the very level of love that we have been loved?  Let the love of the Father flow through you thus enabling you to love with His love and to show His compassion and acceptance to those in need.

Pray for Ed’s daughter Brittany as she and her fiancé, Steven, get married tomorrow.  It is a small wedding and I will be officiating.

Pray for Sunday!  We start our revival meetings and we should be praying that each of us will be revived!  Then, come with an expectation that God is going to do His great work in our lives.  I will be praying for each of you throughout the week that you will be able to get past the work and school schedules to be out each night that you possibly can.  Satan wants you to miss.  I am praying for Satan’s plans to be thwarted and for you to see the hand of God leading you and working out your schedule every day.  Bobbi will be preparing dinner each night as a ministry to you and your families.  Nancy and Stefani and Daniel and I will be bringing music each night.  Pray for God to use all of this to draw us closer to Himself.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

True Friendship

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John 15

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Friendship and trust and sacrifice go hand in hand.  Jesus loves us and proved it by sacrificing Himself while trusting and obeying the Father’s will.  We might have read this passage and thought that friendship was conditional on obedience but like we learned before, obedience is indicative of true trusting friendship.

When someone truly loves you, has your best interests at heart at all times, and asks you to do something that they believe will be good for you, you do it.  My college roommate, Mike Elder, who was in church with us last night, was single.  At 39 he had assumed he would never marry.  A pastor friend called Mike and told him that he wanted Mike to meet a woman named Janet, a widow with two children.  Mike wasn’t interested but out of respect for his friend’s genuine care for Mike, he agreed to meet Janet.  Well, they met and now have been married for 17 years!

The Lord Jesus, our best friend, demonstrated by the greatest sacrifice, has things He wants us to do.  Obeying Him shows Him that we consider His friendship valuable to the highest level.  Thus obedience is not conditional friendship but is indicative of true friendship.

As those who are new creatures in Christ, no longer in the old self but having put on the new self, this should make total sense to us.  For while it may go against earthly definitions of friends it clearly defines what it means for Christ to show His love and friendship to us and enables us to both show our friendship and love to Christ and to others in a Christ-like way.

Pray for the McClain family as Roberta’s funeral is tonight. May they know the unique peace of God in the darkest hour of their family’s history.

I read this morning in Ephesians 4:17-19 a description of the Clintons and the Trumps and all people who do not know the Savior.  In that unregenerate condition we can expect nothing more than for them to ultimately act in complete sinfulness.  Oh how we are praying for the salvation of those families and of all who would use their talents to seek to be leaders in our country. 

Keep our upcoming revival meetings in your prayers!  Plan to join us each night for a great week of spiritual feeding.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS