Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fantasy Christian League


James 2:1
​My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

We are at the beginning weeks of football season here in the south. Which means lines are drawn and the one-liners are being rehearsed. In Alabama alone there is great adversity when it comes to football. From little league park ball to college ball there is a battle every weekend. Most of the biggest battles are not on the field, but in the stands. At the parks, it seems like there is a fight every week. Some dad, or mom, is being thrown out of the park either for their mouth or fists. At the high school level, I've seen parents jump the fence and take the field. I saw one dad jump the fence and begin punching a player. At the college level, I've seen drunks ranting and raving on who was the best quarterback in the league and who stunk the worse as a player. On the field, most of the time, the players play ball. But the stands tell a different story. Some fans roll trees on their home turf, while other fans poison or even burn those trees. It's crazy!

One crazy thing is how an athlete will be judged by weight room stats, running stats, etc... Then when it comes game time, you can't seem to find them on the field. Others will not weigh in as well and you don't give them much thought. But they unleash themselves on the field and become and impact player. It's so funny to hear people gear up for football in the off season. They begin to pick their players and teams. They pump it up so much!  We've now got a "Fantasy Football League".  Where you can draft your players and build a team. 

Sad thing is... This attitude has bled over into our churches. Not in recent years, it's always had its place in the church. The name is SIN!  One person picks this Christian and another one degrades them. One player messes up and falls and it seems like it is on an ESPN News report. "This just in... Last night #12 starting deacon in The Baptist Church was reportedly seen leaving the town bar. He was later picked up by police for a DUI. What will the Baptist do this year without their starting deacon? Will discipline take place? How could you sit in church with someone who would do such a thing? Now back to you Erin."

Yes, the sin of the deacon is wrong and one the church should address. The sin of picking and choosing is wrong as well. So is the backbiting and tale bearer. So is looking upon people and seeing if they will make a good Christian or not. Seeing who would benefit the church team or not is wrong. Looking upon their riches or poverty is wrong. 

James 2:9
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Let God keep the stats, you run the ball!  Let the church leaders do the discipline, you hold the line! Stop picking your Fantasy Christian League and play ball!

Lord, please help me keep my eyes on YOU!  Never let me pick the team, cause we would lose every game. Thank you Lord. I love you!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Finally!


1 Peter 1:9
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

I can remember as a child that I couldn't wait to be twelve so I could be a young teenager. Then I couldn't wait to be sixteen so that I could drive a vehicle. Then I couldn't wait to be eighteen and graduate high school. Then I couldn't wait to be twenty-one so I could be an adult. Then I couldn't wait until I was married. Then I couldn't wait until it had children... It seemed like I was always anticipating the next phase in my life. Constantly I would set the goal ahead of me and couldn't think of anything until I was there. Now that I have made it to these points in my life, I find myself saying, "What now?"  

It's funny how we do things in life and what we talk about that is ahead of us. What is so amazing to me is listening to testimonies from church members during some of our worship services. I've heard all kind of things in testimonies. (Some that maybe should have been kept to themselves) Some of the things that I have heard from our older members are still ringing in my ears, even though they are in Heaven today. 

You would think that they would want to rewind time and do it all over again, but that's not what I've heard. I hear them say things like... "I'm just waiting on my Lord... I can't wait to see my Jesus... I can't wait to see my spouse or family... I can't wait to walk streets of gold... I can't wait to look into the eyes of my Savior... I can't wait to spend eternity with my Lord... I can't wait till He calls me home". 

That is so amazing! Sometimes I feel like I've reached the point in life where I don't have another, "I can't wait..." phrase. But those older saints of God remind me of it again and again. John in the closing book of our a Bible says, "Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus". 

And we thought the beginning of our salvation was something, just wait till we receive the end of our salvation!

Friday, September 23, 2016

I'll Have What He's Having

2 Kings 2:9
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Have you ever been out to eat with someone and listen to them order their food? Sometimes when I go to a new place and don't know what to eat I ask the person taking my order what they would get. I figure that they would know much better than me what is good to eat. But if someone takes me to eat I usually listen to them ordering.

When they describe their order I can hear that they have been here before. I can sense that they know what is good and not good. I love it when they know the ones waiting on us or even better the cook! By them knowing these things I feel sure about getting what they order.

Elisha had been watching Elijah. He as observed his actions and devotion unto God. He was sure that Elijah knew God personally and was confident in Him. He saw the devotion that Elijah had unto God and how God moved on and in Elijah. So when the question about what Elisha wanted before Elijah died came up he jumped on the opportunity to say, "I'll have what you're having. Only make mine a double." (like a beautiful order of double hashbrowns...)

Praise God! Today I want what Elijah had. I want what Elisha got double of. I want seconds and thirds. I trust they knew the One prepares and serves it. Here is my plate and cup Lord...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Before I Die

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

There are two requests mentioned in our scripture this morning. It is a prayer to God. One that is needed before their death. Let's look at them and see if it is something we may be interested in praying also.

First it is a request for removal. God remove from me vanity which is excessive pride and arrogance as well as lies. Lies could be those that were spoken, but since it is joined with the word vanity it no doubt deals with believing lies of prideful thoughts.

The second request is for provisions. He asks God to give him neither poverty or riches. In other words, don't let me focus on how much or how less I have. Lord give me the needs that are convenient for me. Give me those things that will satisfy my needs and not more than I need which will puff up my pride.

I don't know about you but I believe that I'm going to make this my prayer daily. Lord, starve my pride and feed my dependence on You. My prayer today is that I understand this before I die. Let contentment be my daily goal.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Believe it or Not, Will they Know?


Ezekiel 2:4-5
For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

The Lord has given us His word. We are to preach it, teach it, share it. Just as the parable of the sower says to, "Sow the seed", that's what we need to do. It's not our responsibility to grow the seed. We are to sow and water. God is the only one who can give the increase or bring it to life. 

We can agree with the scripture this morning. This land we live in is much like that of the Old Testament Israel. Impudent or disrespectful children. So many times we want to point this scripture to the condition of the lost world or to teenagers, but that would be false. This points to us in the church today. Disrespectful and stiffhearted unto God and His word. 

God sends preacher after preacher to share His word with them. God is putting men into the ministry everyday to preach. We as Christians should be sharing the gospel everyday.

We need to first realize that He has sent us out with the gospel message. Second, we need to know that some will hear His words, but some will not. Some will not change because they are a rebellious house. Lastly, as we share it... understand that some will repent and some will not... but either way let them know your message is from The Lord. The Lord says, "Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, YET SHALL KNOW that there hath been a prophet among them". 

When Jesus himself taught and preached many walked away in disbelief. When Paul testified of Jesus, people chose to walk away from his words about Christ. But...when Jesus taught at times, many said didn't our hearts burn within us as he spake and they believed. When Paul preached about Christ, many came to Him and believed. This morning...whether they believe your words about Jesus or not, leave them knowing that they had been with someone sent from God. 

When my life begins to pass and I take an examination of it all. I pray that I will never tally the ones who believed or the ones who didn't, but I pray that when they pass my casket and look in at the old fleshly robe of mine... People will say, whether they have believed or not, ...this man was sent by God and spoke His words!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Case in Point

John 13:15
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

I want to be the leader!  Let me be the leader!  You will respect me!  You will love me! These are statements that can never just be spoken and it all fall into place. I have said my whole Christian life that, "Those who lead, must first follow". 

This year marks 22 years of preaching the Gospel of Jesus and being in ministry for me. I have seen many things that I love.  Some, well I just didn't like very much. I've heard men demand respect, and never achieve it. I've heard people demand love and never find it. I've even heard people telling others that they were going to be friends only for the friendship to never pan out. 

Scripture tells us that a man who has friends must be friendly. It teaches us that men who are loved are those who show love and those who are respected, give respect to all people. So all in all, the Word of God teaches us that in order to lead in something (or obtain something) we must follow in that manner. 

You want to be a leader for Christ? Become the best follower!  Want to have the best of friends? Be the best friend!  Want people to love and respect you? Show ALL people love and respect!  Character is how you treat people that you don't need. 

Jesus knelt down and washed the dirty feet of men that wanted to be great leaders and said, "I have given you and example". His example was one of a leader. You see Jesus knew that to be a great leader you have to do it by example. 

So, are you leading?  If you're not following then your not leading!  Look at the "Case in Point" (that being the example of Jesus). If your not willing to wash dirty feet, what makes you worthy to lead? If you're not willing to be faithful and preach to 3 people, they what makes you worthy to preach to 3000? Be an example!

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Name of Jesus


Ecclesiastes 7:1
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

Have you ever thought of how your name came to be?  Why did my parents choose to call me Steve?  Some reasons could be... To carry an ancestor's name. To carry a meaning for the parents. It could be that the parents just loved a certain name. There could be a number of reasons for the name that you carry today.  Either way, your parents chose to call you this because it seemed good to them. 

The good in a name will not be the way it sounds or rolls off the tongue. Our scripture this morning tells us about the effects of a good name. But to have that "good name", it takes character. Men and women that have lived good, or right, carry a good name or reputation. This scripture deals more with what a good name could be rather than how to have a good name. Many, many people want a name that will be remembered or famous. People seek the fame and attention for their names. They want the marquees and billboards to be lit up with there names pasted all over them. But how many of those names are good? How many are names you could actually look to for guidance?

The Bible tells us in Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins."  His name shall be called JESUS! SAVIOR! The name of Jesus brings healing to a sin infected world. His name is not Neosporin that heals a wound, but it is the precious blood that removes the sin. The name of Jesus is one that is better than ointment to the leper. A name that is better than ointment to a sickness. A name that carries the stripes with which we are healed. A name that bears the  scars with which our guilt is removed. A name that has been spoken throughout the years and still remains undefiled. A name that when spoken can calm the fever stricken body. At the name of JESUS!  

Makes me sing...
Jesus, Jesus, there's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus let all Heaven and Earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there's something about that name