The Born Supremacy

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Recently, I had the privilege of preaching in the absence of our pastor. My thoughts were to preach what I know…Jesus. As a result, below is the video of that sermon. I hope you’ll take 30 minutes to just stop everything you’re doing and hear of the only Supreme One. It might just change your life direction. After you’ve watched, please leave a reply below with your comments or questions. I would love to hear from you.

If you receive a blessing from this, please consider sharing this post on your social media pages or through emails to your friends. Be blessed!

Americans’ Idol

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America seems obsessed with idols. For 15 years we have watched a show that would pick our next musical stars for us, and worse, would teach aspiring singers what to sound like. We have now produced an entire generation of singers who sound the same.

For years now, we have followed the technology of the culture to make sure we have the latest/greatest phone/tablet/tv/streaming service/apps at our disposal.

We watch the stock market, the news channels, the websites; that will tell us how we should spend/invest our money.

We have followed the cultural trends toward how we relate to each other: living together, same sex marriage, which gender we “decide” to be, etc.

We do all of these things (plus so many more), in order to be like everybody else. We want to be hip…popular…trendy…noticed.

Followers of Christ are given some amazing instructions about this type of existence. Paul addressed it in 1 Corinthians. Paul lays out four specific areas of life that we each should address–that we MUST address in our own lives.

He begins with a description of the Israelites. They began following God, but it wasn’t long before they took up idols. He said of them, “with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.”

I’ve thought a lot about that very phrase. Two distinct realities that I never want said about me. First, God was not well-pleased. I want to live a life that brings God great joy and pleasure. Second, I never want to be laid low in the wilderness–although I have been before. To know that God is not pleased with me and sets me aside from His great service is the worst possible thing. So how do we stay free from this pronouncement?

Paul lays out four areas of life to examine:

  1. Don’t follow idols (1 Cornithians 10:7). What is an idol? Webster defines it this way: “a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly :  a false god“. Simply put, anything that takes our attention off of God is an idol. Whether it’s a gold statue or a gold investment; whether an apple on a tree or an Apple iPad; whether it’s a woman bathing on a rooftop or woman at the office; any of these and more can be our idols.
  2. Don’t act immorally (1 Corinthians 10:8). The Word continues and says, “…as some of them did, and 23,000 fell in one day.” That’s a pretty clear picture of how God feels about immorality, isn’t it. What starts as a casual glance, can end up with the destruction of a marriage and all the families involved. When we exchange what God has designed for what we design, destruction is always the result.
  3. Don’t try God (1 Corinthians 10:9). Who would consciously put God to the test of the limits of His patience. Yet, we do that every day just by choosing not to listen to Him and do what He says.
  4. Don’t grumble (1 Corinthians 10:10). Ouch, this one hurts too! Who doesn’t sit around grumbling about situations that don’t go our way; about people who don’t treat us the way we expect? The problem with that is that we are turning to our own wishes (making ourselves/our interests the idol) instead of what God knows to be best for us.

You’re probably thinking about now, “this is impossible! Do you know the temptations that I face every day?!”

Well, that’s where God shows His way! He doesn’t just issue to us a list of things to not do, but He gives us the way and the power! 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a very powerful reminder for us: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Christ, who was tempted in every way, never gave in to the temptations. He can relate to you! He knows what you face and will NOT let you be overtaken. He will provide a way of escape, BUT you must take the way!

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14). Paul tells us that in light of these four things to avoid, God will give a way of escape EVERY TIME, so you…FLEE!

As believers in Christ, let’s live differently, and in so doing, let’s show the world the hope that is found in Christ. Let’s live a life that well pleasing to GOD, and let’s not be laid low in the wilderness!

Bring Hope to Life

Hope to LifeHope. Everybody talks about it. Everybody wants to have it. So, what is hope?

To the world, hope is nothing more than wishful thinking. “I hope we win this game,” “I hope everything will turn out ok,” “I hope the weather holds out for us,” “I hope you’re better soon…”

We have heard politicians talk about hope forever. Hope and change…a thousand points of light…making America great again…

To the Christian, hope is so much more than wishful thinking. In fact, the little greek word for hope in the New Testament actually refers to a confident expectation. In the Old Testament, hope was in God for His Messiah to come. In the New Testament, hope is in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, for the things to come.

I want to share with you 10 Results of Hope for a Believer in Christ. Of course, there are many more than ten, but let’s start with them. Because of limitations of space, I’ll share Bible references with each. You go and look them up and find hope in Jesus too.

  1. Hope reassures believers. (Ephesians 1:18-19; Hebrews 10:23)
  2. Hope encourages believers. (Isaiah 40:31; Romans 5:3-5)
  3. Hope causes believers to rejoice. (Romans 12:10-13; Romans 5:1-2)
  4. Hope encourages believers to be bold. (2 Corinthians 3:12)
  5. Hope encourages believers to witness. (1 Peter 3:15)
  6. Hope leads to Godly living. (Hebrews 6:10-12)
  7. Hope equips believers for spiritual warfare. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
  8. Hope enables believers to face suffering with confidence. (Romans 5:3-5; Philippians 1:20)
  9. Hope assures believers of eternal life. (Romans 8:23-25)
  10. Hope assures believers of their heavenly inheritance. (Ephesians 1:18)

How about it? Are you looking for real hope? You will only find it in Jesus. I pray that you will follow Him and rely on Him! Here’s Hope!

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all 

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury © 2011 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Words

words“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”–Donald Trump

“If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”–Barack Obama

“We came out of the White House not only dead-broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. It was not easy.”–Hillary Clinton

Words. We hear alot this season of life in our country. An election year always brings an onslaught of promises made that will never be kept. Empty words. Words with no meaning.

There is the alternative. The One who merely speaks and things happen. The One who spoke, and the world was created. Think about that. Without even lifting a finger, God created the heavens and the earth. Without lifting a finger, the land and sea were defined. Without lifting a finger; the sun, moon, and stars came into being. Without lifting a finger, Man was created.

Words. That is all God needed to make all that He made. No struggle. No construction. No starting with one thing to evolve into another. Just words. He said it–it happened.

But that’s not all. When He told Moses to drop his rod it became a serpent. When he told him to raise his hands, the waters parted.

Further in the Word, when Jesus said to the sea, “Be still,” it was. When Jesus said to Lazrus, “Come forth.” He rose from death to life.

This is far from an exhaustive list of God’s speaking and things happen, but it gives a clear and accurate description of the power of God’s voice.

God still speaks. God gave His Holy Spirit to speak to us. Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God states, “God speaks by the Holy spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.”

So, the choice is yours. You can listen to the empty, feckless words of the world around and hope it changes, OR you can listen to the voice of God, which causes everything to change.

It’s what I do. I turn every day to hear God speak through His Word. I pray and listen for Him. I watch the circumstances to see what God is doing. And I always hear him. You can too.

Doing Rounds

Morning-rounds-on-the-cardiac-intensive-care-unitThis morning,  I visited a member of our church in CICU unit of the hospital. As I spoke with her husband, we discussed her condition, what the doctors seemed to want to do for her treatment, and how he was dealing with all that he had seen his wife go through.

We all joined hands to pray together, while a nurse was working nearby. At the conclusion of the prayer, the CICU doctor stepped in and stated, “We are about to conduct morning rounds. Would you like to join us?”

I looked around to see who he was talking to and realized he was speaking to me. “He must think I’m a doctor,” I thought to myself. But I was not about to miss this rare opportunity. “Sure, ” I replied.

I stepped outside the room and into the hallway into a regiment of 12 doctors and nurses. The doctor asked me to introduce myself, and I did. With that they began their report on my friend. I listened intently, not missing a single word they were speaking.

Each person on the team shared their area of information, from medicines being administered to what the medicine’s purpose was; test results, chart info, etc. Determinations were made as to the progress of the treatment and what should be done next.

I was caught up in the professionalism, passion, and intensity of pronouncing every detail of the patient’s condition. It was fascinating. All 12 medical professionals seemed to know every detail of this person.

When completing the analysis, the CICU doctor asked me if I had any questions of them. Acting like I knew everything of which they spoke and with the same level of understanding as they, I resolutely said, “No, I’m good.”

Walking away from this unusual experience, I thought about what the church would be like if all the team (the members) were this way. If the entire church were caught up into knowing every detail of Jesus and His Word, what a difference we would make in this world.

I thought too, of Acts 2:42, “they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer.

You see, the early church was singularly focused. Everything they spoke of, everything they did was in order to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

Imagine small groups that are as intense in their focus of Jesus and His Word as these doctors were in the focus of their patient. Imagine gathering together and learning all we can from each other and the Bible, in order to go live it out in the world. Imagine a world impacted by the great spread of the Good News of Jesus.

I’m ready! Would you like to join me for morning rounds?

How to Play Together

How to Play Together

As a worship band, sensing each other’s parts–listening–is of prime importance. Paul Baloche, a gifted singer, songwriter, worship leader has a video that greatly illustrates and teaches the principles of a worship band playing well together. I want to share that with you so that your team might benefit as well.

I would love to know what you think, what works for your team, and what doesn’t. How about taking a few minutes to share your experiences with the rest of us in the comment section.

At Ease in Zion

At Ease in Zion

Mediocrity, complacency, laziness. They have commonality. These are conditions of the heart that reveal the callousness of a man’s heart. His lack of care for his world are exemplified through his attitudes, and his attitudes are reflected through his actions.

Consider the Israelites. Amos addressed the impending disaster for Israel. After imploring God’s people to return to Him, Amos told them what God thought. Concerning their complacent worship, the Lord Himself said,

“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your failings.

Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like and ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:21-24

Can you imagine God saying that to you of your worship? Can you imagine God saying that to you of your work? Can you imagine God saying that to you of your family life? What an indictment! And what brought that about? It’s explained in just a few short words.

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria…” Amos 6:1

Complacency does that. A student pastor once asked his youth group on a scale of 1 to 10 in your relationship with God, “How many of you are a 10–on fire for God?” A couple of students raised their hands. “How many are a 1–you couldn’t care less about God? A few raised their hands to this inquiry. How many of you are more in the middle with your feelings toward God? Almost the entire group raised their hands.

The youth leader read, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

Yes, those are the words of our God in Revelation 3.

Complacency, mediocrity–they don’t occur naturally in our lives. No, instead we are quietly lulled into that state by turning our thoughts from God to ourselves. As Dave Ramsey says, “mediocrity is not the norm.”

So how do we turn that around? Well, the Lord continues in Revelation 3 with the answer. “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” You see, God is love. He is not sitting on His throne just looking for an opportunity to strike us, but as the perfect Father, He disciplines us back to good relationship with Him. He continues, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to Him and will dine with Him, and he with Me.”

Our loving Father desires fellowship with us. But who wants a relationship with someone who is apathetic about that relationship? God wants ALL of you. If you’ve been treating Him like a foreigner while sitting back lapping up a life of self-centered luxury, turn your attention back to Him.

“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)