Month: September 2017

The Work of the Pastor and the Responsibility of the Members

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As Paul instructed the church in Corinth he let them know what he tried to do for them and what they should do with his efforts. From this passage, 2 Corinthians 12:14-21, we will see clear instructions for both pastors and for church members.

 

 

This is worth waiting for

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Isaiah 65

23   They shall not labor in vain,

Nor bring forth children for trouble;

For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord,

And their offspring with them.

24   “It shall come to pass

That before they call, I will answer;

And while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25   The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,

The lion shall eat straw like the ox,

And dust shall be the serpent’s food.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”

Says the Lord.

The last two chapters of Isaiah mirror the book of Revelation.  They speak of the New Jerusalem where God will dwell forever with His own.  These verses speak to a coming day when no labor will be in vain.  How many times have I done a job that was either done wrong or just didn’t matter?  Never again will that be the case when we are in our eternal habitation.  Since it does speak of labor it does not say that we will be sitting on clouds holding harps.  Boy-oh-boy am I glad of that.

“We won’t bring forth children for trouble” is a euphemistic phrase because Jesus said that there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage in heaven.  This speaks to our labor always being righteous. So often in parenting we wonder what we worked so hard for.  This will never be the case in heaven for all that we do will be for righteousness.

We will be so close to God at all times that verse 22 says before we call out to God He will answer and while we are speaking to God He is hearing us.  Immediate answers to prayer are one of the blessings of heaven.  No more will we send out a cry to God and wonder for He will be hearing and answering as we pray.

Ever since God had to kill the first lambs to cover the first sins, there has been violence on the earth.  In creation, God made the animals to eat herbs and plants.  There was no fear in the Garden that man or animal was in danger.  So it will be again in heaven.  All animals will be domesticated and we will not fear them nor will they fear us.  But notice this; the serpent is still cursed for it will still slither along the ground.

It all ends with “Thus says the Lord.”  God’s signature is on His document and His promises are set in the stone of His immutability.  God will never change thus we can always trust His word to be true.  So, there is coming a wonderful day when all who came to God through Christ in this life will enjoy His presence in His holy place forever.  That is a day to look forward to.

7:00 Tonight at the Riverwalk we will begin our last sketchboard outreach for the season.  We are going to need some in the crowd who can sing for us.  I trust you can make it out. 

Dinner day is Sunday after church.  Plan to stay and join with us.

Thanks to God, Dawn’s surgery went well, she was home earlier than expected.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God’s Eternal City is for All who Come to Him

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Isaiah 65

17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.

19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.

After a chapter of letting the people of Israel know that as they have rejected God so God will reject them, Isaiah brings us to this wonderful promise of a glorious future for all of God’s people. In verse 1 of this chapter we read this:

1 “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name.

My friends, Isaiah was writing about us, the Gentile nations. We are not called by God’s name, Israel is. In their rejection the gospel was sent to the Gentiles. There will come a day that God will again reach out to Israel and many of them will come to God through Jesus Christ (the only way, truth and life).

God’s plan is salvation. God’s plan is an eternal dwelling place for all of His people of all nations to gather together and bring praise to Him. Revelation 7 speaks to this wonderful day yet to come. So wherever you are today, God has a future for you. Trust in God for today and He has tomorrow already planned, a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells, awaits us.

Last night with the teens we talked about how much work it is to pray for lost people. Our minds wander, other things get in the way, and we just don’t spent a lot of time praying for the lost. So we talked about things we would warn our friends about if we knew they were going to do. After talking about four or five things that are really dangerous to let your friends do, we talked about the reality of 100% of all who are born will die and will go either to heaven or to hell. Who are you praying for that God would bring them to salvation? How important is their soul to you?

Tomorrow night is our last Riverwalk outreach of the season. Can you come and be a part with us? We will get started about 7:00 and go till 8:30-9:00. It will be dark and we will be using the black light on the sketchboard. Pray with us for the souls of those who walk by. Come and be a part of the crowd. Sing with us. Answer Dave’s questions. Enjoy yourself and while there pray for those stopping by to receive the Savior.

Dawn has surgery today, keep her in your prayers throughout the day.

Sunday is dinner day. Just a reminder.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Is God a good “shaper?”

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Isaiah 64

8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

Here is the breakdown of this sentence:

  • You our Father
  • We the clay
  • You our potter
  • We the work of Your hand

 

Do you see God as your Father, the potter, and the shaper of your life? Do you see yourself as simple clay being shaped as God sees fit? This is both a wonderful truth and a humbling truth. God shapes us exactly into the person that He wants us to be.

 

As a human father, I always wanted what was best for my children. Bobbi and I have sought to use different methods to shape the lives and abilities of our children to become men and women of character and ability. We have learned that our parenting is limited to human understanding. Using human parenting as an example, God is the perfect parent who knows exactly what He is doing to shape His children’s lives. So not only is God the potter but God is also the ultimate parent.

 

If I think I know what is good for my children then I can trust that God knows what is best for me and is constantly shaping my life as He sees fit. The result of God’s working is that I become the work of His hand, not mine. I cannot take credit for who I become when God is the ultimate Father and master Shaper. He has shaped me as He has seen fit and I have become the man He determined me to be. We are His workmanship, His trophies to show forth His power to those around us.

 

I read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego this morning. They were God’s workmanship holding up God’s name and showed God’s power in the furnace. When they came out the king proclaimed their God the God of all power. Let God shape you today so that others will see His power.

 

We got most of the sign-painting done last night. Be in prayer with us for this Friday’s outreach that God will prepare hearts beforehand to hear the Gospel and be saved.

 

I will be bringing a message Sunday that is very timely regarding our need to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Paul asked the Corinthians to be ready for his coming and Christ has called us to be ready for His. There are many signs that point to the second coming of Christ which should push us to be prepared.

 

Pray for the recovery of Krista who had surgery yesterday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God, sin, and righteousness

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Isaiah 64

5    You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,

Who remembers You in Your ways.

You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—

In these ways we continue;

And we need to be saved.

6    But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

7    And there is no one who calls on Your name,

Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;

For You have hidden Your face from us,

And have consumed us because of our iniquities.

I see two themes here that we should look at.  The first theme is the desire of God for man.  God meets those who rejoice in Him and do righteousness.  From the Garden to the Cross we see God desiring man and man rejecting God.  Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem for their constant rejection of His message to them.  God created man for perfect fellowship and through the blood of Christ we have that fellowship restored.  God desires to fellowship with us who are created by Him in His image.

The second theme we look at is the reality of man’s sin and what it does to our fellowship with God.  God is angry with us because of our sin. We know right from wrong, we have a God-given conscience, but we go against righteousness all the time.  Then we come back and try to do something good for God and He says that those righteous deeds done by us to gain His favor are like filthy rags. Our fading continues like a leaf in the fall and our iniquities blow us away as a leaf is blown by the wind. We don’t call on the Lord and we naturally continue to drift further and further away.

The result of the reality of our sin is that God hides His face from us.  In the Garden, Adam and Eve hid their faces from God.  God sought them and confronted them in their sin.  When we are living in sin and cry out to God He hides His face from us.  As we continue in sin we will find that our sin, which we enjoyed at some point, consumes us.  God in His wisdom knows this and constantly calls us from our sin to Himself and to His righteousness.  Let us not underestimate sin.  It is always destructive.  Sin always causes separation from each other and from God.  Sin is what Jesus died to save us from therefore we must not compartmentalize any sin finding ways to downplay it lest we learn its consuming ways.  Turn with me from sin and let us enjoy the righteous fellowship of God.

Be in prayer with us for our last Riverwalk outreach this Friday night.  We will be at Dave’s tonight painting the sketch boards for Friday night.  If you have time to help, please do.  Pray for health, good weather, and open hearts to receive the message of the gospel.  This is our fourth time out this summer and we have yet to see someone come to Christ.  It would be a great joy to see God save a soul Friday night. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

When God shows up

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Isaiah 64

1      Oh, that You would rend the heavens!

That You would come down!

That the mountains might shake at Your presence—

2    As fire burns brushwood,

As fire causes water to boil—

To make Your name known to Your adversaries,

That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

3    When You did awesome things for which we did not look,

You came down,

The mountains shook at Your presence.

4    For since the beginning of the world

Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,

Who acts for the one who waits for Him.

These four verses are worth re-reading.  Think about these for a moment.  The prophet is looking for God to come down from the heavens to shake the mountains to burn the forests and to boil the oceans to make His name known to those who area against Him so that all the nations of the world will tremble at His presence.  Have we not seen some of God’s power in the last month?  We have had three major hurricanes and two major earthquakes all doing damage beyond what any war or weapon of man can do.  On Christian radio I have heard God exalted but not on secular news.

The prophet longed for the nations to recognize God as the Lord and believed that when God came and showed His power in His presence the world would sit up and listen.  Let us pray that they will listen and that they will acknowledge that God is the Lord.

In verse 4 we find and interesting statement about God and the world’s religions.  Here we learn that from the beginning of the world, no man has heard from any other god and no eye has ever seen any other god for there is no other god besides the Lord God of heaven.  All other gods of this world have been the figments of the imaginations of those who thought them up.  And beyond this thought we read that God is the one who acts for those who in faith wait for Him.  Join me today in waiting on the Lord.  He will give us good courage and will not let us down when we patiently and in faith wait upon Him.  He alone is God.

Tomorrow from 4:00 – 6:00 there is an outdoor prayer meeting at the Grand Pavillion on Naperville’s river walk.  This is behind the VFW. During this two hour prayer meeting we will hear from different men and women who will present specific needs to pray for.  We will then take six minute segments in small groups to pray for each specific need.  This is the third year for Pray! Naperville to have an outdoor prayer gathering of all who would come and pray for our community.  I encourage each of you to come and join us in prayer.  There are many places in the world where this type of public prayer gathering would be illegal.  While we still can, let us gather with other followers of Christ and join them in prayer. 

I have been asked to bring the gospel message at the end.  Pray that if some there do not know the Savior that they will be drawn to Him for salvation.

Sunday, I plan to show some more of my pictures from my trip.  I do hope you will be there.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

When Trouble Comes So Does Jesus

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2 Corinthians 12:7-10 paints a picture of God’s grace uniquely given to a man in great trouble. Yet, we tend to avoid and run from trouble. In this message you will see how Paul embraced the trouble only to find the greater grace of God and a new nearness of Christ.