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The Prayer of Faith / Herds and Flocks

Sermon of the Day: 

The Prayer of Faith 


Proverbs 27:23

23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
    give careful attention to your herds

Good Morning brother. I hope and pray you are doing great in the Lord.

I truly believe God placed this verse on my heart for you this morning. The message and the action steps of this verse has been constantly on my heart and mind.

Verse 23 is talking in the context of shepherds, this was a common job or task during the the time and location of authorship for the Bible. In fact many examples of the Bible and Jesus reference animals, flocks and shepherd type of example or parables.

However what does this mean for you and me today, in America, in the year 2018?

A lot actually! Let me start with 5 reasons that I got from a Matthew Henry Commentary:

  1. We need to be attending to some type of activity, business or calling. We are not at our best in idleness, and God wants us at our best.
  2. Whatever this business or calling is, we need to know it very well, and don’t dabble in things we don’t know.
  3. If this is your flock, or your herd do not hand it off to others to care for. Make it your priority to know and inspect with your own eyes.
  4. Be discrete, be considerate and let no opportunity slip through your grasp. Strive for everything to be done at the proper time and in the proper order.
  5. Be diligent, be intentional, labor and strive to ensure the proper care is given even at your own expense.

As you can see those points can be broadly and generally applied to whatever you decide is your flock or your herd that needs our careful attention. What I want to highlight for you and me this morning are two things: Our Job or Business and Our Family.

Our Job or Business:

God has designed through man a web of commerce. In some way shape or form you and I generate income so we can live, eat, and enjoy leisure in some respect. There are multiple Bible verses that talk about the kind of work we should produce, and the kind of worker we should be. I want to take it a step deeper with this verse.

Whether you are a business owner, a high ranking individual with a powerful title and status or whether you are a entry level employee. There is some type of flock or herd around you or underneath you that needs your careful, attention. Do you know the state of this flock, or this group of people? Whether your a leader by title or a leader by action others are watching. Is what they see and hear from you the same? Are they inspired and motivated when your around? Have you created open dialogue for them to share, vent and talk about whatever is on their heart. Do you know their struggles or concerns? Do they know you care about their struggles and concerns? I love the saying: no cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

If your answer to all or most of that was yes, what can you do to improve on that? Do you need more self-reflection, or do you need feedback from peers or the flock? God wants me and you at our best, for His glory and to be a city on a hill for all to see and praise our Father in heaven.

Our Family:

The most powerful commandment you and I were given here is to love our wife as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33) . This is our most important earthly relationship, this is the only relationship we have that is two in one. We must get this one right, we must take careful attention to this relationship. We must know the conditions here very well in good times and bad, in struggle, difficulty, disagreement and unity, peace and joy.

When this gets the proper attention the rest of our flock and herd (for example children) will benefit. However we need to spend that time to go past the surface. Especially the older your children get. What makes them tick? What makes them happy? What do you do or say that benefits them? Or, Tears them down?

You and I have special gifts, talents and strengths. Lets use them to pay careful attention to our flocks and herds at home and in the workplace. Lets be diligent, lets be intentional, lets put the needs and wants of those in our flock or herd above our own. But do it joyfully, knowing that we are commanded to maintain good works, because these are good and profitable to men (Titus 3:8).

Following this instruction from Proverbs 27:23 will not only do you well in the areas we just discussed. Learning to be mindful diligent of whatever flock or herd you are a part of will have a ripple effect that could change many lives. I have heard a poem that went something like this:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. But I found it was
difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I found I
couldn’t change my country, I began to focus on my town. However, I discovered
that I couldn’t change the town, and so as I grew older, I tried to change my
family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, but I’ve come
to recognize that if long ago I had started with myself, then I could have made an
impact on my family. And, my family and I could have made an impact on our
town. And that, in turn, could have changed the country and we could all indeed
have changed the world.

This poem reminds me that as we look to change ourselves, we become more thoughtful of the flocks and herds in our lives. As we grow and give careful attention to these areas we can begin to have an effect that could change the world.

May God truly  bless and keep you.

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Immeasurable Holiness of God / The Tutor

Sermon of the Day:

The Immeasurable Holiness of God


Galatians 3:23-25 NKJV

 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Good Morning Men. I hope all of you know that Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, go to Him and never hunger again, believe in Him and never thirst again (John 6:35).

The above verse from Galatians really jumped out at me as I was selecting which verse to share this week. Lets break it down a bit.

Verse 23: ‘The faith’ is speaking of believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus was not known in early Bible days the way we know of Him today. Throughout most of the Bible there was no crucifixion, or resurrection of Jesus. Everything was prophecies of a Messiah that was to come. Jesus is described here as the faith because it takes putting your faith in Him to be saved by Him. Prior to, it was about following the rules, the law and the procedures of rituals and sacrifices. This were all things you could see and feel. You could follow all the rules without faith because it was the culture and the heritage of the Israelites.

Verse 24: The law started publicly as the Ten Commandments however there were many more. In fact if you combined all of the civil, religious and moral commandments the Israelites were expected to uphold totaled up to 613 commandments. However as you see here in this verse the purpose of this was not to bring bondage and strip freedom. God gave every single human being a free will, why would God contradict His own creation and force compliance? The law, or these 613 commandments were designed to point people, including you and me to the coming Messiah.

When the Messiah came what happened? The approach Jesus used was to highlight the complexity and restrictions and most importantly the impossible feat in being 100% compliant on all 613 commandments. According to Jesus to follow every commandment was absolutely impossible for man to do. In discussing one example the disciples had a question for Jesus on this very topic:

Matthew 19:25-26 NKJV

25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Verse 25: The word tutor was used to describe someone that taught a child and had the authority to discipline. That is the illustration here of the word tutor. The law was a teacher and a system for discipline and correction. Why? That is what children need, they need to be shown the right way and as maturity develops a tutor is no longer needed. However the tutor is always respected and admired. Respected and admired because maturity reveals that discipline is beneficial, therefore gratitude ensues when we discover what we may be like if there was no tutor.

To summarize, the law or the tutor was designed by God to point every single person to Christ. We have many written and un-written rules or commandments if you will today. If we are real honest it is impossible in our own flesh to follow every single one perfectly. If you can admit this and own this then the next step is to realize you need a Savior. A Savior that bridges the gap between our sinful nature and God’s holiness. This Savior is Jesus Christ.

God’s Word is the Sword of the Spirit that judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). God’s desire for you and I is to spend quality time in His Word. Get to know Him, get to know His Son Jesus who gave His life so you and I can have ours. This takes faith, a saving faith that allows you to say; I am a sinner but I no longer have to try to earn my salvation. I believe in You Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sins and I ask you to come into my heart and be Lord over my life.

This is where true freedom resides. No longer slaves to sin but alive in Christ Jesus.

Foundational Truths / Eyes On The Lord

Sermon of the Day:

Foundational Truths in Troubling Times 


2 Chronicles 20:12

Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Good Morning Brothers in Christ. I hope and pray this message finds you well fed in the goodness of the Lord. Although the storms of life are always present, anchoring into the eternal hope of Jesus Christ is the only sure foothold we have.

The above verse is a powerful description of how Christians need to live. This type of relationship fosters trust, intimacy direction and guidance. The people of Israel in this passage may have been forced considering the circumstances that were approaching them (See 2 Chronicles 20 for full context). However they still chose to humble themselves and focus on their eyes on the Lord.

This really speaks to me because in this day it has become increasingly challenging to do this. We have so many distractions that will pull us in every direction if we allow it. Don’t get me wrong, this is all our own doing, but we just have access to everything and at every moment of the day. This is a great tool if you have the self-discipline. We also have so many devices at our disposal that can make us appear to be capable of handling these situations by themselves, without focusing our eyes and heart on the Lord.

Surrendering needs to be our first step. Allowing God to takeover rather than our own minds and devices. Then we can just focus our eyes on the God who holds everything in the palm of His hands. We do this through prayer, fasting, time in God’s Word and fellowship with other brothers in Christ. We also do this by starting all actions right in our own house.

My challenge to each of us this week is to think what distractions do we have in our life or at your fingertips that are prohibiting our growth in Christ. What are they? What can we limit or even remove?

Secondly, some of us may have desires to help or serve others in some type of capacity. My first encouragement is make sure all action starts in our home. Start by diligently working towards being the most loving, understanding and patient husband. Continue by being the most loving, character filled example for our children who are desperately watching every move we make, and hanging on every word we say.

If you are single channel these actions towards your parents, siblings, grandparents. Whoever is in your life that God has called you to live unconditionally.

God Bless all of you this week. May the Lord shine His face upon you and fill your hearts with the joy of the Lord.

How to Renew Your Mind / God’s Word

Sermon of the Day

How to Renew Your Mind, Part 2


Psalm 119: 1,9-11,97-98,101-105 NIV

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.

97 Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me
    and make me wiser than my enemies.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path
    so that I might obey your word.
102 I have not departed from your laws,
    for you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from your precepts;
    therefore I hate every wrong path.

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray all of you are doing well and growing closer to the Lord. That is one of my prayers for each of you, that you would desire God like never before. Alongside being better husbands, better fathers and better men. Praise the Lord. I also wanted to apologize for the inconsistency in the emails over the last two months or so. Rather than bore you with my reasons, I just thank you for your prayers and patience in this abnormally busy season in my life.

The other morning I was listening to the above sermon that I attached. It really struck a few chords in me, and filled my sails with some well needed wind and encouraged me. It also really encouraged me to share a little bit of my journey in my desire for God’s amazing Word.

The above verses are a few of my favorite verses from Psalm 119. This chapter is all about the Word of God, and the love, respect and direction the Psalmist yearns for from God’s Word.

V 1 – How is it possible to walk according to the law of the Lord, or in other words, the Bible? I think it is pretty simple, we gotta know it. In order to know it we have to spend time reading it, meditating on what we read and continually praying for God to help us understand it.

Then how do we make our way blameless, or in other words have good fruit in our lives? We have that answer in this verse, right? Those who walk according to God’s Word. So we not only gotta read it, seek understanding from the Holy Spirit, then we have to be willing to apply it in our lives. If there is no application than it is just head knowledge, which is completely useless.

V 9-11 – I really love this one because I truly got to see it unfold in my life.

So men, you really gotta ask yourself: where are you now? Where do you want to be? Are there sinful things, habits or situations in your life that are dragging you down?

Well here is a quick road map: live according to God’s Word, seek Him with all your heart, don’t stray from God’s Word – in other words love others, do what is right even when no one is looking. Then we hide God’s Word in our hearts, in other words we memorize and make His Word truly a part of who we are and how we think.

Men please don’t get this twisted either, Christianity and your walk with Jesus is not about do’s and don’ts; right or wrong. It is so much more than that. However for those of us that seem to be stuck and stunted in our growth 9 times out of 10 it is a sin issue. That sin may be connected to other sins. Once we can get over these initial road blocks (sin blocks) we can start to deepen our relationship with Christ. This needs to be seen as an on-going thing. We are sinful by nature, so its not a conquer once and move on kind of deal. Its a life long journey of overcoming in Christ.

V 103,105 – How does God’s Word become sweeter than honey to our mouth? Do you even want that? If your answer to the second question is yes, Praise the Lord. That is a tremendous blessing that you desire that and my prayer is that you don’t ever let that fade. Personally my Bible reading journey starting out of a desire to read through the entire Bible some 9 or 10 years ago. All I wanted was to read through the entire Bible, so I made it a discipline to read everyday. I didn’t remember much, many parts were honestly not that exciting. But I stuck to it. The discipline that was needed to start, created a love that was needed to sustain.

I am not sure where you are in your journey with Christ, but I am pretty sure every single one of us could use more time in God’s Word.

What is stopping you from spending time in God’s Word? What do you have control over?

If you truly desire to know God and have a deep intimate relationship with Him spend time in His Word. Let His Word be a lamp to your feet and a light for your path. Life is much easier when you can see where your going.

If you do not quite have this desire to know God this way, maybe your still unsure of this whole God thing. Check out these verses below:

John 3:16 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Have you ever loved complete strangers this much? Have you ever thought about giving your children so the world could be saved? Didn’t think so. This is radical love that you and I have no concept of. If you really think about this kind of love God has for you it should stop you in your tracks.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

You are a masterpiece that God created long ago, in fact some translations say before the foundations of the earth was laid. You, yes you were created for amazing things in Christ. When you realize how much God truly loves you, and that sinks deep into your heart. Your life will never be the same as you pursue His Word.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and shine His face upon you all.

Freedom from People Pleasing / Radical Love

Sermon of the Day: 

Freedom From People Pleasing 


Romans 5:8 NIV

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray all of you are doing well in the Lord. There are tons of personal battles being fought out there by many of you. My hope is that this message will bring you back to who you are as person and as a man. A man who was created to be more than a conqueror, destined to live from victory and on purpose.

The above verse defines and describes a love that is so radical and so out of this world.

Truly out of this world love! Men please do me a favor and slowly re-read the above verse a few times.

Is that absolutely radical or what?

I know that many of us would give your life for something or someone who was very noble, righteous or dear to our hearts. However how many would die for anyone? Or everyone? Or how about people you know that are going to despise and mock your life?

Let me give you a little background on who God is from scripture. First of all God hates sin and we are all sinners by birth.

1 John 1:5 NIV

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

That is a powerful statement. No darkness at all! I just read a verse the other day that said: no one is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Look at what Isaiah says about our so-called righteousness.

Isaiah 64:6 NIV

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf…

So in other words everything we do on our own merit and strength that we consider to be righteous, God views it as filthy rags!

So I hope you get a little snap shot of how much God hates and despises sin and self-righteousness. Or in other words how we all have a tendency to act. Sinful and self-righteous for starters.

However, through this all God says I will send my son Son for you. This love is so radical, words from human hands really have no way to describe the depth of this love from God. It is so fascinating and heart warming to think of how God loves us. Whether in the midst of sin or before sin takes place, Abba Father, Daddy looks at us and says I Love You No Matter What! God says through His Words that you mean so much to me that I am willing to look past all sin. I love you so much , you are so worth everything I have to offer. In fact, nothing else could show how much I love you except this:

John 3:16 NLT

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

This type of love makes me want more of God, it makes me desire a deeper more authentic relationship with Him. I want God to be a bigger part of my life, I need Him to be a bigger part of my life. I want to make more time for Him, to learn from Him and about in Him through time in prayer and time in His Word. I want to surround myself with men that have this same desire and want to do something about it in the way they live everyday.

Men think about Gods love for you. This type of radical love was designed to attract us more than anything else this world has to offer. This love is designed to fill every void we have in our hearts. This love is meant to bring you life and life abundantly with joy in every season. Know that you are loved by God and that He desires you to know Him and love Him with all your heart, soul and strength.

When Kings Fail – Compromise / Tests

Sermon of the Day:

When Kings Fail – Compromise 


1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV

17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity…

 

Good Morning Men.

The above verse jumped out at me the other day, tests and integrity have always been fascinating topics. However the season that I have been in for a few years really makes this verse alive for me personally. My thoughts are that many of you may have similar questions of why certain things are the way the are in your life.

First of all, how many of us love being tested?

I don’t know about you guys but my first thought and feeling is hesitancy. I am hesitant towards a test. Why? Well could be a number of reasons, like fear of failure, failure would lead to shame. There also has been experiences in my life where tests have been by peers that were setup to see me fail. Those are a few reasons why I feel hesitant when I think of being tested.

Then there is God’s test.

This is a different test because first and foremost God loves each and every one of us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die a horrifying death so that you and I could find forgiveness and eternal life in Him (John 3:16). No greater love has anyone shown than this kind of love, to lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13) . God loves us so much that He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world were made (Ephesians 1:4). When your loved like this, a test is going to be for your greatest good.

Why do we need to be tested?

According to God’s infallible word the heart of man is deceptively wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and that the heart of man is continually wicked and evil (Genesis 6:5). So when left up to our own choices, feelings and decisions our hearts will lead us astray. This is definitely contrary to society and will never be viewed as popular. However not sure about you guys but I’m going to listen to God’s Word before I listen to the voices in the news, in the media and in society as a whole.

With a wicked heart we need testing. We need refinement. God also knows we cannot live lives of integrity without His testing or refinement.

Look at what the Psalmist says:

Psalm 66:10

For you, God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver.

When silver is burned with fire the impurities would be removed. What was left was the purest of silver. That is what God wants from you and I. God wants to test us, to remove the junk and impurity within our hearts and minds. That is why we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we do not conform to the ways of this world (Romans 12:2). Rather we become Christlike in the way we think, act and love others.

Tests will come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them will be obvious and easy to recognize. Others will be blended and disguised. Our job as men in Christ, as husbands as fathers is to desire a pure heart. To live as men of character and integrity. To be willing to do what is right not just when others are watching, but more importantly when no one is watching.

The things we say, the things we do, the people we associate with will put us in situations were these tests may be more challenging than they need to be. So make the right choices, get around the right people, get filled with the spiritual food of God’s Word each day. Put on the full armor of God. Seek God wholeheartedly be willing to give up things that lead to death, and grab a hold of things that lead to life. Life abundantly in Christ.

No matter who you are, you are influencing people. Someone is watching your example and you are either leaving a good example for them to follow or a bad example that they will follow. Or they will choose not to follow and you lose their respect which could be devastating if that person is your son or daughter.

Please know that God loves you so much and wants a deeper more intimate, genuine, authentic relationship with you. Seek Him, spend time with Him, He is so worth it.

God Bless you all.

 

Waiting for God to Move / Faith is Action

Sermon of the Day: 

Waiting for God to Move


Matthew 13:12 NIV

Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

 

Good Morning Men. I hope all is well with you in the Lord leading into this week which has amazing potential and breakthrough for you. Just remember that the quality of your life and ministry (which could be your family or work or anything else) depends on the quality of time you spend with the Lord. So make it count.

Today’s verse comes from arguably one of the key chapters to the Gospel of Matthew, according to Bible Scholars. The above verse comes right in the middle of the parable of the sower. Without going to far down that path, the context of our verse is about hearing, listening and receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ.

After reading a few commentaries I really believe this concept is foundational for spiritual growth. I also believe this precept is directly related to life, here in the physical world. I also believe there is a connection to parenting. Just as a reminder that there is only one translation of scripture however there can be endless application that comes from each verse.

When it comes to spiritual growth, those that hunger for truth, and labor for it will find it. God has promised that and illustrated that all through scripture. When it comes to the things in this world, whatever we pursue we will find and be given increase in that pursuit. Obviously these pursuits could lead to negative consequences but the principle still remains. Then there is the challenge of parenting, I say the challenge because as a father of three if I have learned anything about parenting. Nobody has it mastered, and nobody ever will, but we can definitely do some things that produce great fruits and great headaches.

As parents we need to learn to hold the same line as Jesus. Jesus could have hand fed everyone truths and done miracles to please everyone; He did not. Jesus said seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. In other words have faith (and faith is an action word). As a Christian we must earn our keep, work hard, pursue truth, and pursue greatness. Whether it is to buy a home for our family or to grow in the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). How many biblical heroes were handed a free lunch their entire life? As we labor more, more is given and the abundance will happen.

So obviously the flip side is what Jesus says; if you don’t have the little you have will be taken away. Look at the hard-hearted, stingy and rebellious in this world. The things that matter most in this life do not exist with this group. The same is true for our desire and action to know God, the more we ignore it we run the risk of sin consuming our lives and losing that little desire still remaining inside of us.

Men we must have ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts that receive or in other words be sensitive to the spiritual things in God’s Word. God longs for each and every one of us to know Him intimately. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to pay the ultimate price for you and me. So that we may find forgiveness of our sins, that we can repent and turn to Him and have eternal life. We just gotta do our part, and our part is to pursue Him. Let me share a few verses that have groundbreaking promises but do require faith as an action word on our part.

Jeremiah 29:13 ESV

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7-8

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Jeremiah 33:3 ESV

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

My prayer is this message came at the right time for each of you. Just remember that God’s timing is very different from our expectations of our situations. Trust in His timing, grow in patience and endurance as you labor to know Him and make Him known by how you live, talk and act.

Lets be men of faith. Men that take action in our marriages, in our parenting, in our everyday living in pursuing our goals and dreams so that tomorrow can be eternally brighter and better for everyone that crosses our paths.

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