Saturday, August 22, 2015

“Reasons to Trust the Bible”

“Reasons to Trust the Bible”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Outline  today is based on Erwin Lutzer’s book, “Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,   17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.   

On one level faith is a one sense a subjective response.
But genuine faith is a subjective response based upon an objective reality.

1 Corinthians 15:14 (NKJV)
“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” 

Jesus tells us.....
Mark 12:30
 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'”   

Love God with all your being and as the Apostle Peter tells us :

1 Peter 3:15
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 

I. Logic - The Claims of the Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17  
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   

Yeah, but what about other writing that to be inspired?
Is it circular reasoning to accept the Bible because it claims to be God’s Word as God’s Word?

In evaluating the Bible, you start with what it says about itself.
If it didn’t claim to be inspired, we wouldn’t be having this message.

A. Unity of Scripture
1.In Genesis God creates the universe (Genesis 1:1).
In Revelation the universe is destroyed and replaced by a new one (Revelation 21:1)

2. Death enters the world (Genesis 2:17).
Death is abolished (Revelation 21:4).

3.    Man is cursed (Genesis 3:17).
The curse is removed (Revelation 22:3).

4.    Satan appears as the deceiver of men (Genesis 3:1-4).
Satan disappears forever (Revelation 20:10).

II. Historical - The Reliability of the Bible


III. Prophetic - The Predictions of the Bible

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 “You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?"  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

Fulfilled Prophecy
1. Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14).
This prophecy is fulfilled 700 years later (Matthew1:18,22,23).
2. Micah predicted the exact birthplace of the Messiah (Micah 5:2)
This prophecy was fulfilled 500 years later Luke  2:4,6,7).
3. David predicted Christ's crucifixion in detail hundreds of years before this method of death was used(Psalm 22)
4. Isaiah foretold Christ's suffering and atonement 700 years before Christ's death (Isaiah 53:4-6).

IV. Christological - The Authority of Christ

Matthew 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” 

The Testimony of Christ Concerning the Scriptures.
1. He believed the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17-19)
2. He believed in Solomon (Matthew 6:28-29).
3. He believed in Moses (Matthew 8:4).
4. He believed in Abraham (Matthew 8:11).
5. He believed the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15).
6. He quoted the Old Testament (Matthew 21:13,16,42; 22:28-33;36-40).

If you claim to be a Christian, and then claim that the Bible contains errors, is untrustworthy and has been mistranslated, then you have a different attitude toward that Bible than Jesus does.

If you claim to be a Christian, you should have the same attitude toward the Bible that Jesus had. Jesus said the Bible was trustworthy, true, and accurately preserved.

 The Lord Jesus Christ
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”    Luke 21:33

If I claim to be a Christian, I should have the same attitude toward Scripture that Jesus did. Any other view calls into question my claims to be a Christian.

V. Scientific - The Story of Creation

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  

From Lutzer’s book, [135]
“In these ten words we have the foundation concept of time; this refers to a specific point in a continuum when Creation took place.
“God” is the basis for personality; “created” introduces the concept of energy, those forces in the universe that play such a large part in explaining life and the secrets of the planets. Finally, “the heaven” refers to the vast regions of space and “earth” affirms the existence of matter.

Lutzer continues,
In his book The Genesis Record Henry M. Morris points out that this opening statement in Genesis refutes (1)atheism because the universe was created by God. It refutes (2) pantheism, for God is transcendent to that which He created. It refutes (3) polytheism, for one God created all things. It refutes (4) materialism for matter had a beginning.
It refutes (5) dualism, for God was alone when He created. It refutes (6) humanism, for God, not man, is the ultimate reality. It refutes (7) evolution because God created all things.

VI. Providential - The Canonical Process

Luke 1:3-4  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Textual criticism studies the existing copies of Bible in an attempt to determine the original wording. Several thousand existing Greek manuscripts exist and have been studied so that we can be sure of having an accurate text. The oldest existing fragment of the New Testament (a portion of John 18) is only 25 years from the original.

2. "Canon of Scripture" refers to the books that are regarded as part of a complete and divine revelation. The word "canon" comes from the Greek language and means a measuring rod or rule. It eventually came to mean a list, or a catalogue.

3. A book to be included in the canon had to pass a test or had to measure up to a standard. Some of these tests included:
"(1)Was the book written or approved by an apostle?
 (2)Were its contents of a spiritual nature?
 (3) Did it give evidence of being inspired by God?
 (4) Was it widely received by the churches?"

B. Why are no more sacred writings necessary?

 The writer of the Book of Hebrews said God has spoken unto us in these last days by His Son.
Hebrews 1:1-2
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."

There is no other revelation for faith in Christ. The entire body of revealed truth has been once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude 3
"I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."

The Scriptures were written to explain how man and God could be reconciled. The question is, does it accomplish that purpose? If so, why add anything else to its inspired pages? Anything else would either be useless or contradictory and God will have no part with either. What is the point of having more “scripture”which simply corroborates what the Old and New Testaments already teaches? What is contained in the Bible is sufficient to both know God and grow complete in our lives.

II Peter 1:3
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

VII. Personal - The Power of the Word 

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  

From a commentator
4:12. For the Word of God is living (zon) and active (energes). Not only that, its penetrating power is greater than any double-edged sword and reaches the innermost being of a person so that it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. In doing this, it is able to discriminate successfully between what is spiritual in man and what is merely “soulish” or natural (it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit), and does so even when these often-contradictory inner elements are interwoven as closely as joints and marrow.
The inner life of a Christian is often a strange mixture of motivations both genuinely spiritual and completely human. It takes a supernaturally discerning agent such as the Word of God to sort these out and to expose what is of the flesh. The readers might think that they were contemplating certain steps out of purely spiritual motivations when, as God’s Word could show them, they were acting unfaithfully as did Israel of old.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.

Imagine that you are with your family on a trip to Disneyland. You get completely lost and end up with in South Central Los Angeles with your car breaking down at 10:00 o’clock at night. You pull out your cell phone to call AAA. Then looking at the dead phone and you remember having forgotten to charge it and you had no car adapter. You have this sinking feeling that you need to walk back 15 block to a Seven -Eleven in order to find a phone.
At ten o’clock its dark and you notice by the light of a street light a block away a group of about a dozen young men who were talking loudly and enjoying themselves. They notice you and your family in the car, they quiet up and start walking directly toward your car.

How do you feel at that moment?

They get closer and closer to your car. You tell everyone to make sure your doors are locked. You tell everyone to start praying.

This group of young men arrive at your car and knock on the window.

Then you notice these men are all carrying Bibles.

How do you feel now?

A car load of atheists in south Central Los Angeles in similar conditions would be just as relieved as you are.

The Bible is reliable, it is completely trustworthy.

We have reason for the hope that is within us.

That act of faith is not blind. It is a reasoned faith.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I hate waiting

I hate waiting.

One of my indelible memories of the Army was the push to hurry up and get someplace and then having to wait a long time for something to happen. Waiting extended periods of time in long lines became an ever present frustration. “Hurry up and wait” became a well known mantra of frustrated soldiers. There were lines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My memories after the haze of years from that time coalesce with thoughts that involved waiting in a line.

I am not the only one here who dislikes waiting. Waiting for an elevator to stop at every floors drives us to tapping our toes. Not in rhythm but in impatience. All of here have stopped at red lights, impatiently whispering ‘hurry up and change to green.’ We get impatient with microwave ovens. Slow internet. I remember dial up modems and then dsl and faster dsl.  I like a fast drive through. Many times we are in a rush to get someplace. But waiting is a normal part of life.  Commission sales people don’t want you to take time and consider a decision. They want you to buy now. When we take the time to consider and evaluate options regarding what we need, we don’t tend to buy as often or as much.

Waiting on the Lord to do something is an act of faith. If God answered things too quickly, we wouldn’t grow in trusting him as much. We pray and wait. Sometime we need to pray and act. Some of the best answers to prayer are no’s and wait.

We live in a world to tensions. We live between the first and second comings of the Lord Jesus. We read of the marvelous things in the Bible that He did and will do.  We live in the present reality of the Kingdom of God waiting for the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God when the Lord Jesus returns in glory.   We live in a world marred by the effects of sin. 

Waiting is part of the last two verses of the Bible. We are waiting for Christ's return.
Revelation 22:20-21 (ESV)
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
And we need to remember that God’s perspective of time is not ours.
2 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV)
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Sometimes a long silence is careful loving no answer from the Lord.  Don’t misread the lack of getting the answer to a prayer that you want. God is God and we are not.

God uses the struggles of life to form Christian character if we seek him through it. Consider Paul's evaluation of the benefit of his struggles in the following verse.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV)
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

As Oswald Chambers explained, "Some prayers are followed by silence because they are wrong, others because they are bigger than we can understand. It will be a wonderful moment for some of us when we stand before God and find that the prayers we clamored for in early days and imagined were never answered, have been answered in the most amazing way, and that God's silence has been the sign of the answer."

The apparent silence of God helps us to recognize our dependence upon him. We have nothing when we don’t have him. All the money in the world means nothing if we don’t have him. Waiting on God timing allows time for our prayers to become more polished, more mature, as we seek what is truly important.

We don’t know the time that God has given us. We don’t know when the Lord will return. But we can faithfully seek and serve him till he returns.  Part of that is faithfully and fervently praying for His kingdom come, His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, most of us don’t care to wait. I mess around with my phone when I am waiting. Sometimes we become tied to our electronics. Cell phones can be a blessing and a pain.

You can read the news on your Iphone or Android, Ipad, Kindle, Nexus, etc... You can use your smart phone to pay at Starbucks, or you can use your phone as your boarding pass.  Classmates was overtaken by Myspace which in turn was replaced by Facebook. Now we have Instagram, snapchat, twitter, etc...

All of these application can be useful or they can be distracting.  Most technology is morally neutral. It can be used for positive and negative things.  Facebook is now mentioned in more than a third of divorce proceedings. People express things negative and positive and connect with some people they probably shouldn’t.

Technology should never replace relationships with other people. It should assist, not replace.

The next time you are waiting in line, run through your contact list, pray for someone. Text a word of encouragement to someone the Lord puts on your heart. We are all together waiting for the Lord to Return. May we use that time well as we wait.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The value of the Word of God

If you were to find an original 550 year old Guttenberg Bible in a flea market and pay ten dollars for it, you would have an impressive treasure. A few years ago Bill Gates bought a Guttenberg Bible. What he paid was not made public. But guesses range from $23 to $35 million dollars. 

But the value of the Word of God is not from the paper it is printed on or the ink that is used.

A Five dollar paper back edition of the Bible is worth more to you than a Guttenberg Bible if you read it and do what it says.
Then it is more precious and valuable than gold.
Then you as God’s servant you are warned and encouraged to obey it

God speaking in the storm

Elijah after his victory over the prophets of Baal had to run for his life. He was very depressed and wanted to die. The Lord sent an angel to minister to him. And he wanted to teach Elijah a lesson.

1 Ki 19:11)  The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Sometimes we may want the Loud, but the Lord generally doesn’t use the Loud. He uses the quiet.

As we contemplate God’s Word and His creation we will be better able to hear the gentle whisper of God’s voice.

“God Speaks: Are you listening?” outline Psalm 19

“God Speaks: Are you listening?” outline Psalm 19

I. God speaks through the Glory of Creation (1-6)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and
     the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

II. God speaks through the Truth of His Word 7-11

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
 the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8  the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;         
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
10)  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward

III.  God Speaks: Are you Listening?            (12-14)

12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

The Voice of God

The Next Voice You Hear

[I don't remember where I originally got this description of the movie]

Was a film made in 1950, the movie tells the story of the Joe Smith family, which has a typical amount of trials and tensions.

Then, one night, the voice of God speaks on the radio. But not just their radio—God’s voice is heard throughout the world on every radio, saying the same thing at the same time.

At first people react with disbelief, then fear.
After several days of hearing “The Voice,” however, people’s attitudes, actions, and priorities begin to change. As more messages come; come people respond positively and other people respond negatively.
The impact of what God is saying directly affects how they live their lives.

Sometimes people say, “If only God would talk to me in my life.
Then I would know what I should do and I would do it.

The problem however, is NOT, God speaking.
Why?  because God has spoken to us in His Word, The Bible, the inerrant, infallible Word of God.

The problem is our listening.
The psalmist desired to obey God’s Word “continually, forever and ever” (119:44). And James warned about ignoring it when he said, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

How would you respond if God began to speak to you on your radio? We can be thankful that God does speak to us—not on the radio but in the Scriptures.
The purpose of today’s message from Psalm 19 is to encourage us to alert enough to listen and wise enough to obey.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Outline for Mother's Day Message

“The Challenges of Parenthood”
May 10th 2015

The challenges of Parenthood are

I.   To bring children up in the training and instruction of the Lord

Ephesians 6:4
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Proverbs 13:1
“A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.”

Proverbs 17:25
“A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.”

II. To appropriately discipline their children

Proverbs 22:15
“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”

Proverbs 29:15
“The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”

Proverbs 15:5
“A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”

III. To seek Wisdom in responding to their children

Proverbs 4:5
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.”

Proverbs 4:7
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

IV. To respond in  Love to their children

1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Proverbs 10:12 
“Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”

Proverbs 15:17 
“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two valued elements in business dealings

Two Key Components

Our family has its share of medical issues. Outside of the hassles of dealing with chronic health problems, are the issues of paying medical bills.  A year ago we paid a ENT doctor $400 for putting a very small tube in my college son’s ear. This took all of 10 minutes once the decision was made. In my less spiritual moments my undefined bucket list urge is to one day outrageously charge a doctor, dentist, plumber, auto mechanic for some minor service.

Whether you are hiring a doctor, plumber, mechanic, financial planner, et... you want desire two key elements within one of these individuals.

You want character and competency.

You want to be able to trust the person that you have hired that they are able to do the jog that you want done. When we had trouble with our old minivan years ago, I took it to the dealer where we had purchased it.  It became clear after a few expensive, but fruitless visits that they either did not know what they were doing or they were trying to drain as much money out of us as possible.  There may have been a combination of factors.  Two years later I found a more competent mechanic and I gave him my business until he moved away.

Reading online reviews of businesses is a mixed bag at best. Even pay for review sights have a lot to be desired.

If you find honest and competent people doing a good job, let them know you appreciate their services.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pay-Day Someday Dr R.G. Lee

DR R.G. Lee preached the sermon Pay-Day Someday more than 1,200 times over many decades at Bible conferences, in state capitol buildings, churches, universities, youth camps, and ballparks across the nation and around the world.  At the time of his death on July 20, 1978, an estimated 3 million people had heard him preach Pay-Day Someday. He used the story of Jezebel and Ahab murdering Naboth to get his vineyard[I Kings 21] to hammer home the point of Pay-day Someday. We are accountable to God.

Here is a link to the youtube sermon (video poor, sound ok) of R.G. Lee. Enjoy..  {copy and paste link}

Outline:"You Have to Serve Somebody” Luke 16:1-13 April 26th , 2015

“You Have to Serve Somebody” Luke 16:1-13 April 26th , 2015

As stewards of what God has entrusted to us

I. Remember that there will be a pay-day someday (1-2)

1 He also said to the disciples,
“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.
2 And he called him and said to him,
‘What is this that I hear about you?
Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’

II. Act shrewdly with the resources under our control (3-7)
3 And the manager said to himself,
‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me?
  I am not strong enough to dig, and
  I am ashamed to beg.
4 I have decided what to do,
 so that when I am removed from management,
         people may receive me into  their houses.’
5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first,
    ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’
He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’

III. Develop Spiritual wisdom which matches or exceeds the wisdom of the world (8)
8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness.
  “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

IV. Use them (our resources) with an eternal perspective for the Kingdom of God (9)
9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

V.  Be responsible in the little things and God will use you for greater things (10-12)
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?    

VI. Serve the only Master (BOSS) who really counts (13)
13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Outline “Enter by the narrow gate” Matthew 7:13-14

 “Enter by the narrow gate” Matthew 7:13-14 - April 19th 2015
I.  Jesus was full of grace and truth             John 1:14
John 1:14 (ESV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:17 (ESV)
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

But what does grace and truth look like through Jesus Christ?
II. Two examples of this from Jesus
A The woman caught in _adultery
John 8:3-11 (ESV)
9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

B. The wealthy chief _Tax collector

Luke 19:8-10 (ESV)
8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

We are called to   “Enter by the narrow gate”

III. Jesus describes two gates concerning eternal destiny

A. The Broad Way that leads to destruction
Matthew 7:13 (ESV)
13 For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
Examples of those on the broad path
A. The Self-Professed Righteous
Luke 11:42-46 (ESV)

B. The  Religious     
Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV)

C. The Profane       
Psalm 53:1 (ESV)
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.
D. The Practical Atheist    
Proverbs 16:25 (ESV)
25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

B.  The Narrow Way that leads to Eternal Life
Matthew 7:14
14} But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

IV. What it looks like to be on the narrow path.
A. The relationship between Faith and Works    

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

B. The issue is possessing Christ.  
Eternal life is complete in knowing Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:9-13 (ESV)

If we are going in the wrong direction, we need to turnaround.

IV.  The Great Turnaround
A. The Call to Repent and Believe 
Mark 1:14-15 (ESV)
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

B. The Call to be concerned       
Romans 10:1-4 (ESV)

Proverbs 9:10)  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

No Guarantees as a Parent

Many years ago I was a volunteer police chaplain, I would go on ride-a-longs with police officers every 2 or 3 weeks. One call was regarding a father whose teenage daughter had run away. During the conversation, I gave the father the number of the “Tough love” organization. “Tough love” is a network of parent support groups for parents having difficulties with children. I had received the number from the parent of a rebellious teenager. While it didn’t help his own teenager turn around, it did help the father cope better.

A few months later we attended some meetings in Denver and heard Henry Blackaby speak. He is the author of the “Experiencing God” workbook.  He talked about his own prodigal son. He tried tough love and it didn’t work. He said His son  needed love and acceptance.

Probably the greatest need in those difficult situations is discernment.

Responding to rebellion is a challenge for any parent. My sister and I were very much on our own during our teenage years. Our parents were consumed with their own angst. We didn’t have too much to rebel against. My own fear bad consequences kept me out some potentially negative situations.

The greatest need in those difficult situations is expressing love in a discerning matter.

Sometimes  parents ‘rescue’ their children out of the consequences of their poor choices. The saddest funeral I ever conducted was for a 40 year old man whose parents always bailed him out of the consequences of his poor choices.  He never had to learn to be responsible. This ultimately hurt himself, his wife and children.

An older friend whose rebellious son many years ago did drugs was arrested. He called his mother and dad to bail him out. They let him stay in a jail for a few days. Those days of staring at gray bars and walls provided an impetus for a spiritual awakening in his life. If his parents had come to early, they might have truncated what the Lord was wanting to do in his life.

There are no guarantees in life. A parent can make all the right choices, a child still grow up to make a lifetime of poor decisions as an adult.

A former basketball coach said something memorable on the radio years ago about basketball that has a lot of application to parenting. He said that coaches get too much credit when the team is playing well. And they that they also too much blame when the team is playing poorly. That comment has direct application to parenting. A parent gets too much credit when the children do well and they get too much blame when the children do poorly.

We still must make the best choices that we can.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Outline for next Sunday: The Parable of the Loving Father Luke 15

“The Parable of the Loving Father”
Luke 15:11-32
April 12th , 2015

I. The Loving Father [11]
11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.

II. The Prodigal Youngest Son [12-24]

A. An insensitive demand for his inheritance and journey to a far country (12-13a)
12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
13 a Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country,

B. A squandered inheritance used up in reckless living (13b-14a)
13b  and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
14 And when he had spent everything,

C. Crushing circumstances and desperate measures (14b-16)
14b a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

D. The distress of life created an opportunity for a spiritual awakening (17-19)
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’

E.  The experience of forgiveness and restoration leads to celebration (20-24)
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

III. The Begrudging Older Brother
A.   Anger over his father’s reception of his prodigal brother (25-28a)
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’
28 But he was angry and refused to go in.

 B. The loving father’s plea to the older brother to join the celebration (28b)
28b His father came out and entreated him,

C. The older brother’s list of complaints to his father (29-30)
29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’

D. The father’s love for the older son and the need to celebrate the brother’s return (31-32)
31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

Monday, April 6, 2015

Outline: "Lord, Save Me!" April 5th 2015

"Lord, Save Me!"
Matthew 1:21; Acts 16:31; 2 Tim 1:9; Phil 2:12-13;1 John 3:1-3
April 5th , 2015

The Gospel as declared by the Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you,
which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

The Relevancy of the Gospel -what does it mean to us?
Romans 1:16 (ESV)
16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

 Who was responsible for the death of Christ?

Divine responsibility. Isaiah 53:6
Isaiah 53:6 (ESV)
6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
 21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Hebrews 9:14 (ESV)
14  how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Satanic Responsibility
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

John 13:27 (ESV)
27  Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

 Human responsibility
Acts 2:22-23 (ESV) 22  “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—
23  this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Acts 4:27-28 (ESV) 27  for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28  to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Ways in Which We are “Saved”
I. Lord – Save Me!  - from Physical harm 
Acts 27:20 (ESV)
20  When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.

Hebrews 11:7 (ESV)
7  By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.

II. Lord- Save Me! – in a general spiritual sense.
Matthew 1:21 (ESV)
21  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

III. Lord- Save Me!   –   For the Christian
there is a past, a present, and a future sense of salvation for the Christian.

A.  Past – salvation from the penalty of sin: justification
Acts 16:31 (ESV)
31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV)
9   who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

III. Lord- Save Me!   –   For the Christian
B.  Present – salvation from the power of sin:  sanctification
Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)
12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

III. Lord- Save Me!   –   For the Christian
C. Future – salvation from the presence of sin:  glorification
1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)
1  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
2  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
3  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Philippians 3:20-21 (ESV)
20  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter - the last word

From Paul Hovey

 "The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word. On Friday night it appeared as if evil were the master of life. The holiest and most lovable One who had ever lived was dead and in His tomb, crucified by the order of a tyrant without either scruples or regrets. He who had raised the highest hopes among men had died by the most shameful means. A cross, two nails, a jeering mob of debauched souls, and a quick thrust of a spear had ended it all. Those hours when His voice was stilled and His hands were quiet were the blackest through which the race has ever lived. If Caesar could put an end to Jesus, then no man could ever dare aspire or hope again. Hope, in such a world, could be nothing better than a mockery. Then came Easter morning and the glorious word: "He is risen!" And evil's triumph was at an end. Since that hour when Mary in the garden first discovered the staggering fact of victory, no man whose heart was pure and whose labors were honest has ever had reason to fear or despair if he believed in the Resurrection."
   Paul Hovey

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 166.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Outline:“Lost, Found, Rejoice” Luke 15:1-10 March 29th , 2015

“Lost, Found, Rejoice” Luke 15:1-10 March 29th , 2015

God’s Perspective - in our own lives - should come from God’s Word
          1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
7 For who sees anything different in you?
What do you have that you did not receive?
If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

On one hand, there is appropriateness to avoid sinful behavior.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV)  22 Abstain from every form of evil.

On the other hand, we need relationships to have influence.
Luke 7:34 (ESV)
34 The Son of Man ........................ a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

Big Idea: The repentance of others must be met with joy and celebration

 I. Attitude Check: My way or the highway [1-2]
 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying,
“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”                

Consider the Exodus Generation centuries before with Moses,
Exodus 15:24 (ESV)
24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”

Exodus 16:2 (ESV)
2 And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness,
II. Attitude Adjustment Needed: celebrate others finding and being found [3-7]
 A. Lost  (3-4)
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?

B. Found (5)
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

C. Rejoice (6)
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them,
‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’

D. Heavenly Application for us (7)
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

III. Attitude Adjustment Needed: celebrate others finding and being found [8-10]
A. Lost (8)
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
B. Found (9a)
9a And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying,
 Some people are offended
           - no matter what you say about the Lord.
          - no matter how you say anything about the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:18 (ESV)
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

C. Rejoice (9b)
9b ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

D. Heavenly Application for us (10)
10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

[your name here]  - a poor sinner  1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV)
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We need to embrace the reality that none of us are worthy of God’s grace.
All of us are sinners.

We are great sinners, but Jesus is a greater Savior.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A pill or a glass of wine?

If you Google Utah and antidepressant use, you will find some interesting information about high rates of use as compared to other states.  Sometimes, I’ve heard people attribute this to people feeling too stressed about life in a legalistic religious culture.  I heard a comment the other day that shed some light on that topic. More people here are more willing to get the help they need. Also within the predominant faith, abstinence from alcohol is emphasized. So assistance from prescribed medicine is more culturally acceptable. In other areas, people may unwind with a glass of wine. However, abuse of either can lead to major problems.

The main issue is for people to get help when they need it. Although prescribed medicines can be abused, they still have helped many people when properly used. Counseling and appropriate medicine have given many people much more doable lives. My oldest son is diabetic and takes insulin to control his blood sugar. No one gives him grief for taking insulin. Unfortunately, some people who need and take antidepressants are told that if they pray more or read their Bible’s more, then they would be fine. That is an unnecessary burden to put on people who are suffering.

 If an individual has emotional or mental issues, he or she needs to be encouraged to be appropriately evaluated by medical professionals.  Those individuals should be supported by friends, family, and coworkers. If they need medicine to live their lives balanced they should be encouraged and not be told that it is unspiritual. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Outline:“The Challenge to follow Christ” Luke 14:25-35 March 23rd , 2015

“The Challenge to follow Christ”
Luke 14:25-35  
March 23rd , 2015

We are called to loyalty to Christ in fully following Him.

Faith and resultant works.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I. Jesus speaks to Crowd to encourage them to think in following Him(25)
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

II.  Two warnings about Loyalty to Christ. [26-27]
a. It may cause family relationship problems. (26)
 26.  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
How do these words fit with the call to love?
Mark 7:10 (ESV)
10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’
Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Luke 6:27 (ESV)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Consider hate as simply to love less.
Matthew 10:37 (ESV)
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

b. It requires us to set aside our agenda for His. - sacrificial cost (27)
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

III. Two Considerations about Loyalty to Christ,
a.  Consider the cost before starting a project (28-30)
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

b. Parable of the king going to war (14:31-33)
31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

Philippians 3:7-8 (ESV)
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ

IV. Two warnings about the commitment required for discipleship (33-35
a. Jesus must be first in our priorities (33)

33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Jesus must be first in our priorities... regarding our time, talent, and treasure....

b. Losing Christian character makes us good for nothing (34-35a)
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away.

The point is that disciples who do not live like disciples are worth as much as unsalty salt: nothing.

V. Following Jesus takes serious reflection and focus [35b]

 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”