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The Process of Change / Message of the Cross

Sermon of the Day:

The Process of Change: Step 1, Repentance, Part 1 – A


1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

European cities you never thought to visit

Good Morning Men.

As all of you probably know by now, there was a big scare in Hawaii over the weekend. For myself and the guys I was with at work it was real, it was scary and it was a wake up call in many ways. The above verse was in full effect after this event. Lets look at the facts:

  1. The cross is foolishness to those that are perishing
  2. The cross is power to those who are being saved
  3. Being saved requires the power of God

In the Bible someone that is perishing is referring to someone that rejects God and will receive the consequences of that choice. This rejection can come in a few forms, obviously outright rejection is one way. Then we have the type of rejection that may not be showing on the outside, but on the inside there is no desire to know God. They may know of Him, but they do not know Him. To these individuals, the message of a man claiming to be God being brutally crucified is foolish. It goes against every fairy tale, everything we believe from environmental experiences and Hollywood movies!

However for those that are being saved, or are saved the message of the cross is power. A power that stirs you deep inside every time you read about it, think about it or hear a sermon about it. When you actually know God, when you begin to learn of the background of the cross. The voluntary sacrifice that was given on the cross. The power of the cross effects the saved through deep gratitude, pain, awe, and myriad of other emotions that can be so personal and moving.

This power is God. The Bible teaches that no one can save themselves. No one can come to the Father except through the Son (John 14:6). The Holy Spirit calls every person through a variety a ways. Some people may see them as signs, others through experiences like this weekend in Hawaii. At the end of it all God speaks through the Holy Spirit by His Word.

This weekend’s event illustrated to me that there will always be men that do soul searching in times of fear and concern. These men are being impacted by the power of God and the message of the cross. These men are truly blessed if they act on it and pursue knowing God and allow His power to change their lives. To others its foolishness, it is a time to put on a front that everything is okay because so far everything has been okay.

Where do you stand? What does the cross mean to you? If that missile threat was real and hit your area and you died, where are you going? How about your family, would they be good? Have you done your job dad, in teaching your children the love of God (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). Have you been the husband God has called you to be, allowing your marriage to be a reflection of Jesus’s love for the church?

Men as real as death is, so is our eternal destiny. Eternity has only two options, heaven or hell. They are radically different and my encouragement for you is to find out from the Bible what those differences are. Pray and ask God for His power to move in you and call on Him that you may be saved. If not no problem take your chances, know that I love you and I pray you keep reading our emails.

Grace and Peace to all.

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Let’s Get Specific / Eyes of the Lord

Sermon of the Day:

Let’s Get Specific – A 


2 Chronicles 16:9 

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.

European cities you never thought to visit

Good Morning Men.

There is a lot of context going on here in this verse so I won’t discuss the interpretation of this verse. However I want to focus on the application for you and me of the first half of this verse.

Lets look at the facts:

  1. The eyes of the Lord
  2. Run to and fro throughout the whole earth
  3. God shows Himself to those whose heart is loyal

Men, I don’t know about you but the thought of God having vision going back and forth throughout the whole earth is mind blowing to me. It definitely raises some questions for me about many of the issues throughout the world. Those issues honestly are far to great for me to understand and I know that all things work together for good for those that love God and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So I won’t get to hung up on it and my encouragement is for you to do the same. If that does really bother you then my question is how much time are you spending on your hands and knees each day pleading with God to end that crisis? Let’s be men of action not just of talk, biblical actions that glorify God.

So God’s eyes are everywhere, we know this from many examples throughout the Bible. God is omniscient, omnipresent and all knowing. The pain in our heart is equally important to the starving going on in a third world country. God’s love is so rich and so deep, men we honestly cannot even fathom. On top of it being completely pure and holy, unlike our love that is so easily swayed, persuaded, influenced or superficial.

One of my favorite verses about God being throughout the whole earth is:

Psalm 139:7-10

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

The Bible makes it very easy to see that God is everywhere, but why is there Christians that have such different results in their personal walk and joy with Jesus?

I believe our answer is right before us in this verse; God shows Himself or reveals Himself to those whose heart is loyal to Him.

Men, are you desiring more of God? Are you desiring to know Him more intimately? Or are you just going through the motions? Maybe neither, you are just figuring out your way. All of the above is okay men, it doesn’t matter where you are today. What really matters is what your going to do about it. Where do you want to be and how are you going to get there? I know for me personally I have areas I need to be more loyal and my faith needs some fertilizer. But I want to grow and change and I hope you do too.

As we close out the first week of the year what are you willing to commit to in your spiritual life to make 2018 different and better with God? What steps do you need to take in order to have your heart loyal to God?

If this speaks to your situation men don’t let another day go by without making a plan. Make a daily plan, start small and stick to it.

Have an awesome day and week in the Lord. Let your light so shine so that others may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16)!!

Take Out the Garbage / Be Strong and Courageous

Sermon of the Day:

Take Out the Garbage


Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Good Morning Men. Happy New Year.

On the subject of a New Year, my Pastor said something that was really great yesterday in the context of our Bible reading plan: “Christian’s don’t make resolutions they make commitments.” I thought that was really important as we head into a new year. My hope is that all of you will make commitments to grow your faith, and grow in your walk with Jesus Christ.

The first start is getting a reading plan. Our church will be going through the Life Journal Reading Plan. You can find it in the You Version Bible App. Then go to plans and search for it under that title. Pastor Wayne of New Hope Honolulu created the plan. If you like plain old paper, no problem; click the SOAP link below. It goes through the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in a year. Great goal for all of us!

Also follow it up with SOAP. Lets all start journaling if you’re not already. This is also a journal plan that New Hope does. So after every day you read you journal. What do you journal? SOAP: Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. For more details click here : SOAP.

The above verse was already my topic verse but how awesome this verse fits into place for many of us today. Sometimes a new year can be a little worrisome. Maybe there is tension in relationships, maybe the finances are suffering a little or worse yet maybe a troublesome diagnosis from the doctor. Or how about just afraid to commit to something challenging, or taking a step of faith, a tough decision or even just committing to a one year reading plan.

God spoke the above words to Joshua because as a new leader of his people he needed some encouragement. Joshua was called to take over the charge into the promise land for the Israelites. Joshua needed to know that God was going to be with him wherever he went.

This strength and courage is not from Joshua, but rather strength and courage in who God is. Men, this application is for each and every one of us today. As we set our course for 2018 lets become stronger more courageous men in Christ because of who Christ is, not because of who we are. In verse 7-8 God reminds Joshua the importance of meditating on “the book of the law”. For us today that is spending time in God’s Word, reading it, meditating on it through the day and of course applying it.

So men, be strong and courageous. Know that by giving our whole heart to God, aligning our lives, actions and steps with His Word. God will guide us and lead us, He promises to never leave us. Men, make the commitments and decisions you need to make now, don’t wait. God has created you for greatness, the only thing that is going to stop you from that is you.

What Child is This? / A Child is Born

Sermon of the Day:

What Child is This? 


Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Good Morning Men and Merry Christmas!

Let me give a long-story-short explanation of the phrase Merry Christmas.

“Merry” is from an old Anglo-Saxon word that sometimes meant; “famous”, “illustrious”, “mighty”. Originally it meant to be strong and gallant.

“Christmas” was coined from the phrase ‘Christ-mass’ were millions of people would gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th.

The phrase Merry Christmas became popular in the 19th century primarily through the story ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Getting back on track to this weeks verse.

The verse above is a prophecy of the birth of Jesus Christ. It was written about 700 years before it happened. This alone is beyond comprehension.

Lets look at the facts:

  1. A human child was to be born
  2. This child would be a boy
  3. He will be the ruler over all the earth
  4. His character traits will be as Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

The Hebrew literary tool of repetition was used to emphasize a point; unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.

For unto us a Child is born: The prophecy of this child, the Messiah was to remind Israel their Messiah would be a man. God could have sent the Messiah in any form; an Angel, a fully developed man and everything in between. There is nothing more weak, more needy, more helpless than that of a child. However God always knows best and sent a Messiah that would be fully qualified as Savior and High Priest. Look at what Paul reminds us about this, on how Jesus is able to identify completely with all of humanity and the ultimate display of servanthood:

Philippians 2:7

 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 

Unto us a Son is given: This verse and several others give us the foundation that Jesus came as fully God and fully man. As the second person in the trinity, He chose to come down in the flesh. We also see that man really is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).

And the government will be upon His shoulder: The ultimate fulfillment of this part of the prophecy is yet to come. This time is known in scripture as the Millennium, or the Millennial reign of Christ. This is where Jesus Christ will rule the earth as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21).

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: These names are not the literal names of the Lord Jesus Christ. These describe the many aspects of His character. This is who Jesus is, what He stands for and who He represents.

Wonderful: Jesus is nothing short of wonderful. The more we learn about Him through His Word and get to know Him personally there is no word in our human language that can fully describe the wonder He is capable of bringing too each and every one of us.

Counselor: Jesus is our counselor in so many ways that I personally have not even learned to develop. For the Christian, Jesus should be the immediate resource we turn to. The means of receiving this counsel or help can come in so many forms and ways. The more we seek Him, the more grateful and humble our hearts are, the more we will see His fingerprint and righteous right hand through all that we work through. Through the gospels Jesus makes many promises of His steadfast love and faithfulness. It’s just too bad that we often become unfaithful to Him with the cares and worries of this life.

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: These three names could be described and highlighted all through scripture. Just know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

What an amazing God we have. Men, many of us often have many questions for God. Sometimes these questions are linked to a lack of faith as well. Men be encouraged that you do not have every answer. I am very grateful that I cannot completely figure out God and His ways. That would mean that my limited brain is equivalent to His wonder and majesty. Which would make all His promises void. The mystery of Christ should stir us to seek more and learn more of His infinite power and glory.

Men, may the God of all grace bring comfort, love and joy into each and every one of your hearts this Christmas. May the Lord truly shine His face upon you more and more, so you learn and know that He loves you and cares for you so deeply. May this love radiate from you to all those around you through this season and increasingly more and more throughout all your days.

 

The Discipline of Personal Prayer / Be an Example

Sermon of the Day: 

The Discipline of Personal Prayer – A 


1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Good Morning Men.

The book of 1 Timothy was written by Paul when he was around 70 years old. Timothy on the other hand was a newer Pastor in his 30’s. So in this context youth is relative.

The message to Timothy was basically not to give anyone any ground to discredit your youth on the basis of poor character decisions or actions.

Lets look at the facts:

  1. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…if
  2. Set an example to other believers in speech
  3. Set an example to other believers in conduct
  4. Set an example to other believers in love
  5. Set an example to other believers in faith
  6. Set an example to other believers in purity

In the context of a relative youth, many of us will be in situations were we are the so called “youth” of the group. Whether it is at work, in the family, at church or in our circles of influence. Paul’s encouragement to Timothy is basically, just live in a way that nobody will say anything about bad decisions and credit it to your age or lack of experience.

This is powerful, I personally love when I meet someone younger than me that acts my age or older. When they have the maturity and character of someone much older than they are numerically. This is definitely God’s all for all of us.

How do we get there?

All five steps listed above are the building blocks. These steps are not just for young pastors. These steps are for every single one of us to lay hold of, to strive for and work towards every single day.

The word if was added by me because I don’t want this first statement taken out of context. Don’t let anyone look down on you if you are taking care of all the other steps in this verse. Don’t let anyone look down on you does not mean stand up and fight against the wrong you feel. It means lead by your actions, be an example by your actions. This is very different from what our society believes in don’t let anyone look down on you.

Men do you speak to your children the same way you speak to the boys at work? If your answer is no, start changing that. Learn to bridle your tongue and only speak what builds up. How about those of you that have some type of position or status at work or in the marketplace, do you speak to others of lesser position differently than those that have a higher position or status than you? If you do, shame on you. The bible talks about something I like to call 360 degrees of honor. Men we should be examples in how we honor those above, next to and below us in status or position. If you don’t believe me check out John 13:5.

Lets look at conduct, or basically how you live. Your example is being watched by everyone around you whether you like it or not. Everything we do and say from the big to the small is being watched and monitored. Do you live in a way that a new believer would see that and be encouraged? Or do you live in a way that may encourage an older believer that is going through a difficult season of spiritual dryness? We should be. We should be living as the salt of the earth, preserving and bringing life to all those we cross paths with.

John taught us that people will know we are God’s disciples by the way we love (John 13:35). This kind of love starts in the heart. We must learn to love God and be so overwhelmed by the sacrifice Jesus made for us. That our love radiates through our actions, facial expressions, words, deeds and everything in between. Are you a christian that walks around smiling? Or your body language expresses a lack of love for others. Men these seem like small things but they can be so transformational for the people God places in our path either for good or bad.

Does our faith set an example for others? Do we hide our faith, do we whisper our faith around non believers? Do we make decisions that are obvious to those around us that illicit a lack of faith? Let’s be honest men we all are guilty of this but lets grow in our walk so much that our faith is so bold that we encourage other believers to be the same way. Let’s pray with such boldness and conviction that those we pray for would be encouraged and strengthened in their walks with Jesus.

Then there is purity, everything we look at, talk about, think about and do. Is it pure and holy? Men we need to be the example for our sons and daughters. To be men that are not stuck in the bondage of pornography or any type of sexual immorality. The bible says to flee from sexual immorality, or in other words run like heck when you even hear it is coming near. Let’s remember that when we are weak, Christ is made strong. We cannot do this on our own. We cannot do it without Christ.

Men my hope is that the tough words spoken here would push you to a stronger, richer and healthier life in Christ. Let’s learn to be the example for everyone around us. Not so that we receive credit or honor for our own silly pride. But that our lives will magnify Christ. Our lives will bring glory to God. Let us be as Pastor John Piper says: Let us be most satisfied when God is most glorified.

Let me also close with this quote from a poem by C.T. Studd. Click here for the entire poem.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Love Kaaina

 

What to Pray About / How to Gossip Better

Sermon of the Day:

What to Pray About, Part 1 – A 


How to Gossip Better

Article by

Pastor, Des Moines, Iowa

Do you ever wonder how people talk about you behind your back?

Maybe you get the itch when you see people talking quietly close by: Was it something I did? The mind has its mysterious ways of wandering and wondering. Wandering and wondering. Sometimes, the anxiety of imaging yourself the target of gossip can chew a hole through an entire day.

James says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). Horizontal gossip is first rooted in vertical gossip. Before wielding his seldom-dull axe against gossip towards church members, James swings it at God-gossip.

The burden of this rebuke falls not on something wrongly performed, but on something wrongly said about God. The command is: “don’t talk about God like that.”

What Excuse Do You Make?

The early church, upon having their sin exposed, was gossiping against God rather than owning their sin. And no, maybe the very words “I am being tempted by God” have not tumbled from your lips in these exact sounds units, but you might, like me, recognize yourself in these common excuses:

I would not have sinned if God hadn’t put this trial in my life.

I would not sin with laziness if God would give me more responsibility.

I would not sin with anxiety if God would give me less responsibility.

We transform our churches, small groups, and accountability groups into circles of gossip that slander The Most High. This is the foundation from which James leaps into his more familiar condemnations of gossip, like: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue . . . this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26), and, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness . . . With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:6–9).

The Opposite of Gossip

For the apostle Paul, gossip is a type of demonic imputation. In his stunning letter written to the church in Philippi, he encourages the church towards unity with this remarkable command for humility: “In humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

The word “count” in this text has a rich biblical history and an entire universe of meaning tightly-coiled within it: circle, highlight, and underline it. For instance, Paul uses the same root word when he says, “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).

In other words, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is a type of anti-gossip: it is the counting of righteousness to a person who is unrighteous. When God speaks behind our backs, God the Son talks to God the Father about us in such a way that he sees us as perfectly righteous, not less righteous. That Christ talks on our behalf, behind our backs, is actually the basis of the good news!

The Worst Accusations Against You

Gossip, then, is a sort of anti-imputation: it is the counting of unrighteousness against people who have been counted righteous in Christ. You might even say that gossip is a type of amputation: a hacking off not of limbs or body parts, but of esteem and honor. Gossip is the satanic tongue.

To the throne of God, Satan drags with him a cosmic bag brimming full of accusations about your sins, failures, and struggles. Worse yet, his bag is filled with true accusations about you packed with stories about your transgressions. If you are like me and your heart rate increases at the possibility of peer-gossip, how do you handle the thought of Satan — knowing far more than your peers do — gossiping behind your back?

If we want to end destructive gossip in our lives, we need to have our eyes opened to see the true work of grace at work in others, and then to count them more significant than ourselves.

Gossip Better

The satanic influence and eternal impact of gossip has become, in painful increments, more clear to me over the last year. Fifteen months ago, I planted a church in Iowa with a small team of people. When you minister in a small new church, unlike in a more established one, it can feel like the balance of your church’s future teeters on the things people say.

James asks the early churches, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13) — over and against the volatility of gossip. That’s our cry as a fragile young church. And by God’s mercy, our church is slowly growing, in part because we are learning to gossip about one another like Christ does.

This is not a passionate plea for Christians to “gossip” less, it’s a passionate plea for Christians to gossip better. If you’re going to gossip in your church, as Paul and James would agree, gossip like Jesus. When you talk about other members behind their backs, speak with a flavor that leaves the listener with a higher-view of that member. When you talk behind the backs of church members, talk about the fruit of their spiritual lives — the progress, the work of Christ, in their lives.

In other words: has Christ imputed righteousness to you? Now, impute esteem to others.

 is the lead planting pastor for Frontier Church. Frontier Church exists for the glory of Jesus and the joy of Des Moines, Iowa. Before his call to church planting, Cole was a high school English teacher and wrestling coach

Confident Prayer / Live to the Lord

Sermon of the Day: 

Confident Prayer Builds Persistence – A 


Romans 14:7-9

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Good Morning Men.

Romans 14 is a chapter about conviction and conscience. As we learned the other week, Pastor James talked about how not every single choice, decision or lifestyle is noted in the Bible. We have freedom in Christ which is great and awesome. Unfortunately we can also be led astray by poor choices.

So the facts of this verse are:

  • our life is connected to Christ
  • our death is connected to Christ
  • Christ not only died, rose and lived again for our sins but also that He would be Lord of all.

In the commentaries I read about this verse, it is speaking to the believer in Christ. Those who have chosen Christ as the Lord of their life, accepted Him by faith and placed the Word of God as their path and lamp for life.

The Christian life is all about a relationship with Christ. We could talk on this for hours on that so I will try to keep it simple.

In order to build the relationship I have with my wife I constantly think of ways in my day to make her my priority. I look for ways to spend time with her. I consciously make an effort to listen to her, in the good and the bad. These things build my relationship with her. It builds her affection for me, and mine for her.

The same is with Christ, how do we as believers make Him a priority each day. If someone looked from the outside into my life they would be able to identify that I love my wife and make her a priority. Would the same be said about my relationship with Christ?

As a professing believer in Jesus Christ our lives need to be connected to Christ in Word and in deed. All that we say and all that we do should be a reflection of Christ. We are now representatives of Him, so that wherever we go and whatever we do we can have a clear conscience as if Jesus were with us in that very room. That is how our lives are connected to Christ in life.

No surprise here, but someday we all are going to die. When we die what will we be remembered for? What did we do in our life that was connected to Christ, that reflected Christ? Did you leave a legacy of Christ in the hearts and minds of those around you? Or in those you came across throughout your days?

If you could answer yes, praise God lets keep growing and keep learning. If your answer is no, praise God you are reading this and hopefully you want to change that.

God’s Word has so many promises about what we need to do but if I could summarize it all just make Him a priority each day. Seek Him with all your heart and you will find Him. If you feel you are to busy and do not have time, then remove things that are not benefiting any relationship in your life and replace it with reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. Start small if this is new, if your already doing this fight to spend more time.

There is a simple formula to follow: Know Him, and make Him known.

Psalm 86:11

Teach me your way O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth, Unite my heart to fear Your name. 

Sheila Scorziello

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