029: When God Is Gone

When God Is Gone - Sun June 12am

Everyone is caught up in the moment! The lights and the stage are set! The music is moving and stirring emotions. Hands are raised in surrender! Shouting, trembling, crying, speaking in tongues… The crowd is responding with such passion and excitement! Everything is in place, but there’s only one thing missing—God!

It feels so good to be a part of a spirit filled service! But does this spirit exalt the flesh, or Jesus Christ? Does this spirit condone sin, or convict hearts to repent of their sin? Does this spirit drive you to live a holy life, and make you love even your enemies? Does this spirit motivate you and empower you to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what the cost?

The Spirit of God is called the Holy Spirit for good reason. He is Holy! Is it possible to operate like a Pentecostal Christian, out of habit or ritual, and not even realize the Holy Ghost is not the author of any of it?

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Romans 11:29

The Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, and he prophesied. However, Saul rebelled against God and chose to do things his own way. God removed His anointing from Saul, yet Saul continued to act out as if he was still under God’s anointing…

And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and [Saul] prophesied in the midst of the house:

I Samuel 18:10

God is Holy and won’t tolerate sin and rebellion! He will remove His Spirit and anointing from unyielding vessels. But when God is gone something else will fill that void. Nature abhors a vacuum! If you aren’t filled with God’s Spirit, then something else will fill you.

Those who worship God must do so in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). It can’t be manufactured by flesh! If you are hungry for a real move of God in your life, stay tuned to this podcast episode. Don’t settle for anything less than the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit!

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To Live Is Christ

To Live Is Christ - Wed May25

Okay, I responded to the gospel and said yes to Jesus. What’s next? What does it mean to live the life of a Christian?

Right now you might be thinking this message isn’t for me. I’ve been living the Christian life for years so this can’t apply to me! This must be for those just starting their walk with Christ.

Have you reached the point that this world has nothing to offer you? Beware… Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). You haven’t arrived yet!

Just when you think you have matured to a place that you no longer desire the things of this world, just when you think you are above being tempted, satan starts scheming. The devil will move to whatever playing field is necessary to distract you from God’s plan.

No matter how long you have been saved, regardless of your spiritual maturity, until you stand face to face before Jesus, you always have a decision to make about who you are going to serve. This is the relentless battle for the Christian. You will constantly be faced with the choice to either live for Jesus or seek your own will.

The gospel doesn’t stop with the sinner’s prayer. It’s a life choice…

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21

To live is Christ? To die is gain? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it is the gospel simplified in one verse.

To try and understand, compare Philippians 1:21 with Philippians 2:21.

The opposing view of the Christian life…

For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

Philippians 2:21

The apostle Paul said for me to live is Christ, to die is gain. But all those outside of Christ seek their own, and not the things of Christ.

I want to live Christ, but how?

The Life of Christ

So what did Paul mean when he said to live is Christ?

What about your life changed when you said yes to Christ?

Have you been careful to surround yourself with “Christian” things?

Nowadays it’s too easy to wear the “Christian” label. You don’t have to give up those amusing secular pastimes when there are so many “Christian” substitutes (sarcasm intended). From romance novels, to popular music, to action filled movies, there’s no shortage of “Christian” entertainment.

If you had a problem with offensive language before you got saved, try using some “Christian” cuss words as one comedian put it! And for those who just can’t give up the night life, there are even “Christian” night clubs.

Have you tried to live for Christ by embedding yourself in today’s “Christian” culture?

Just like in the Garden of Eden, today the devil is still a deceiver and a master at masquerading sin. But even if you dress it up and put a “Christian” label on it, sin is still sin! No flesh will glory in the presence of a Holy, Righteous God!

Every day of our lives we have the same choice Adam and Eve had to make in the Garden. Do I obey the Lord and surrender my flesh to the will of Christ or do I seek my own pleasure and desire?

Before we can understand what Paul meant by to live is Christ, we need to get a grasp of the Life of Christ.

I can’t live the life of Christ if I’m living for myself! Who was Paul living for when he wrote this?

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

Philippians 1:20

All Paul’s expectation and his hope was to do nothing to bring shame to His Lord Jesus. He wanted every fiber of his being, everything he did in this life, and even his death, to magnify Jesus Christ. Paul recognized his life was not his own.

We are not our own either! We have been bought with the price Jesus paid on Calvary. We owe everything to Jesus Christ. Our life, our will, our hopes and dreams… All our desires need to be crucified with Christ, so Christ can live through us. God’s will can’t be demonstrated in me unless I’m fully surrendered. It’s no longer about me and what I want!

Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, and imprisoned. He suffered in weariness and painfulness, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Would we stay committed to the will of God under the same harsh conditions? Paul had no “Christian” substitute for any of this!

Paul suffered and surrendered all for the cause of Christ, yet he confessed he had not arrived. Paul said I’m pressing on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Jesus… (Philippians 3:14). If this was true for Paul, then I know no matter how close I get to the Lord, there will always be more of me to die, and more of Christ to live.

Paul said for me to live is Christ… not for me to live is for Christ to live. Christ will live whether I do or not. Christ will live even if I don’t yield myself to Him!

If you don’t let Jesus live through you, then He’ll go to somebody else who will. God uses willing vessels washed by the blood of the Lamb. However, God has a specific call on your life that only you can answer. Your calling is just as unique as your finger prints. It’s a job that only you can accomplish for the Lord. Only you can live Christ for you!

The Life of Christ is my life stepping aside so that His life is lived fully in me.

But that’s impossible…How can I step aside and let someone else take over and live their life through my body?

The Mind of Christ

Your mind controls all your bodily functions, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary. Your mind also controls all your thought processes and decision making. It stands to reason you can’t use your mind to live like Christ. To live the life of Christ, you are going to need the mind of Christ.

Paul said…

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:5-6

Okay, I need the mind of Christ! But what is the mind of Christ like?

But [Christ] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:7-8

The mind of Christ doesn’t seek His own agenda. Christ is Royalty! He didn’t have to, but He took on the form of a servant. The mind of Christ doesn’t pursue His own fame or fortune. The mind of Christ is surrendered to whatever it takes to accomplish the Father’s will and bring glory to His Father’s Name. Even if it means suffering, and death on a cross!

Without the mind of Christ, I don’t have the knowledge, the understanding, the holiness, or the capacity to live Christ. Most Christians will say they want to live Christ. But how?

Short of a brain transplant, how do I get the mind of Christ?

For you to really live Christ, you’ve got to stop trying to live Christ. Stop trying to do it on your own because you can’t do it on your own. Just surrender and let the mind of Christ take over because…

 …the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I Corinthians 2:14

Stop trying to use your own logic because your natural man can’t figure out God. You can’t know the things of God without the Spirit of God. For me to live Christ, I have to understand that within myself I am not able.

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

I Corinthians 2:15-16

Paul makes a correlation between the Spirit of God and the mind of God. They are the same. If you are a born again believer, then you have a measure of the Spirit of God living in you. So if Christ is your Savior, then you already have a measure of the mind of Christ.

But you can’t yield yourself to the mind of someone you don’t even know. In legal terms, would you give power of attorney to just anybody? No, never! You would reserve that right for a loved one, someone you are close to, someone you could trust to make the best decisions for you.

You have got to know Christ before you can yield to His mind!

The Knowledge of Christ

If you want to walk in fullness, to live Christ with all your being, you need more of the mind of Christ. But before you can submit to the mind of Christ, you must have a knowledge Him!

How do you know Jesus Christ? Yes, it absolutely starts with the sinner’s prayer. But to know Jesus intimately, you need the full measure of His mind, that is the fullness of the Spirit of God!

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

I Corinthians 2:11-13

The Holy Spirit teaches and reveals Christ to us so that we might know Him, and know Him more intimately!

Do you understand the importance of Spirit Baptism? When you are baptized in the Holy Ghost, you are filled with God’s Spirit, totally surrendered to the mind of Christ. Without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, you can’t completely fulfill the will of God for your life because part of your mind is still in control.

The knowledge of Christ goes much deeper than just studying the historical life of Jesus. It’s more than a head knowledge. To know Christ, you must have an experiential knowledge of Christ.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Philippians 3:7-8  

What is Paul talking about? All things loss? What things? Because of Jesus, Paul has lost everything. Anything that pertains to this life, Paul said is gone. Any comforts, pleasures, personal pursuits, whatever, Paul counts it all loss that he may win Christ. He counts them loss and even dung compared to the prize—Jesus Christ!

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Philippians 3:9-10

To have the knowledge of Christ, or to know Him, means Jesus has become your everything. It’s no longer about what you can do, but all about what Christ does through you.

Do you want to fulfill God’s plan for your life, to know Christ intimately, to have the mind of Christ, to live the life of Christ?

Most of us would say yes, but… I can’t! How can I be expected to live like Christ?

It’s all too overwhelming. I’ll never measure up! There are so many distractions! Do you know what I have to deal with every day? I can’t do this!

You are so right! With so many things competing for your attention, it can be overwhelming! You can’t do this on your own. Nobody can live Christ in their own strength!

The Strength of Christ

The good news is you don’t have to do it on your own! You can’t live Jesus, but…

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

Think about it! The apostle Paul laid out an impossible objective for you and me. To live is Christ and to die is gain. It would be impossible if you had to do it in your own strength.

It takes the strength of Christ to show you the knowledge of Christ…to draw you closer into His presence.

I know Jesus as Savior, isn’t that enough?

No, it’s just the beginning!

When you have a more personal knowledge or relationship with Christ, His mind can become resident in you.

In John 7, Jesus offers water to the thirsty,

37…Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.

38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

John 7:37-39

The Spirit, or mind of Christ, can’t fully come to you until Jesus has been exalted to a position of glory in your life.

You say Jesus is your Savior…but have you made Him your Lord? Does Jesus dictate every aspect of your life? Is Jesus sitting on the throne of your life? Is He the absolute object and subject of your life?

If Jesus is not Lord of your life, all you have to do is surrender. Right now, call on the name of Jesus. Confess your weakness to Him and He will give you His strength.

The more of you that tries to do it, the less of Him that can. Even if you don’t want to surrender, just be willing to be made willing. Cry out to Jesus and declare Him Lord of your life.

Thank Him and praise Him for what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. Even if it doesn’t feel like much, continue to surrender to Christ. I promise you, God will draw you closer and the mind of Christ will take over. Die to yourself so that Christ can live!

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028: The Man

The Man - Sun May 29 am

You just don’t understand! How can you tell me to love my enemies? You don’t know what they did to me. How can you expect me to have faith and trust that God will work it all out? How can I be expected to do what’s right when everything is going so wrong? I’ve suffered so much! Nobody understands what I’m going through!

Nobody…except the man, Christ Jesus.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

II Timothy 2:5

Jesus…The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords… Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace… Jesus is so much more, yet He humbled Himself and left the riches of Heaven to live on this earth as a human, to walk where we walk, to face the same temptations we face, to feel the same heartache and hurt you are feeling right now.

The man, Christ Jesus, is the only mediator who can stand before God on our behalf and say: I know what they are feeling! I lived on the earth and faced the constant struggle of flesh warring against the spirit. I felt the same pain and rejection. I even tasted the stinging, bitterness of death for all mankind.

Jesus is our mediator, the great High Priest that stands between our sinful human frailty and a Holy God. However, Jesus is much more than that. God came in the form that we can understand. Jesus blazed a trail for us to follow and set the standard for our life.

Maybe you were blessed to have had great role models and mentors in your life, but people, at their very best will fail you. It’s human nature! No one is perfect!

But Jesus will never let you down! He suffered more than any human ever had to endure, yet He stayed committed to His Father’s will. He’s the perfect example for us to follow. And if you follow closely, when the terrain gets too rough, and too steep, Jesus turns around and picks you up and carries you through it.

Are you struggling with circumstances in this life? Do you feel like no one understands and you just don’t know how you will make it? Then tune into this podcast episode and take comfort in the man, Christ Jesus.

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027: Untempered

Untempered

Today, you can’t just throw a building together and call it done. First, a building permit must be obtained. Then there are strict building codes and standards that must be met which usually means hiring an architect. Preparing and laying a solid foundation are crucial. After the construction phase, ultimately, the building must be deemed safe and useable by an inspector.

When all these things are in place, when blueprints and codes are followed, if inferior building materials are used to cut costs, the structure might be compromised. Even the best building is not without its flaws, and a storm will reveal any imperfections in the structure that need to be repaired.

The same can be said for our lives. We are a building in the making, and God is the chief architect. He has a plan for what He wants our life to be. If we will just submit, God knows exactly what needs to be done to make us useable to Him.

Maybe you feel like God has been working overtime on your building and you’re not sure how much more pressure you can take. But God is a master builder! He knows where all your flaws and weaknesses are.  Stay tuned to this podcast episode and be encouraged. Just trust the builder and submit to His plan.

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2 Camels, 1 Needle

2 Camels 1 Needle

They are filthy rich! It’s obvious from the clothes they wear to the car they drive to the mansion they live in. This person is well off! Of course, nowadays you can’t be too sure. When so many people are trying to live in luxury, way beyond their means, it can be hard to distinguish between who’s wealthy and who’s just drowning in debt.

Are you rich? Or are you trying really hard to be rich? Be careful! Jesus warns…

For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:25

Whew! I’m safe! I’m not even close to being rich so I won’t have any trouble going through the eye of that needle.

Rich is a relative term. How do you determine who’s rich and who’s not? Rich in one part of the world might be considered poor in another. How do we know what Jesus meant? How do we apply this verse?

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus elaborated …

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:23-24

Jesus not only cautions those having riches, but he extends the warning to those that trust in riches. Maybe the question at hand is not necessarily about what you have, but more about what has you.

In Luke 18-19, the scripture gives the stories of two wealthy men who each have an encounter with Jesus. When these two men meet Jesus, they are faced with the greatest decision they will ever have to make. The first man is an unnamed young ruler. The second is a tax collector by the name of Zacchaeus. Both men are very rich, yet it’s interesting how their encounters with Jesus turn out totally different.

The First Camel

In Luke 18, a rich young ruler has been doing some thinking. Life has been so good to him. He’s a ruler…He enjoys his status. People respect him. In fact, he gets special treatment wherever he goes. This young ruler enjoys his wealth too, but he’s smart enough to know these pleasures won’t last forever. So he approaches Jesus with a question…

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

When it’s all over, what am I going to get out of all this? How can I guarantee I will inherit eternal life?

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

Undoubtedly, he was very religious, for the rich young ruler had been careful to keep all these commandments. Yet there was still a void that neither riches nor religion had filled.

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

That’s not exactly what the rich young ruler wanted to hear. He had a lot at stake! His wealth, his position, all the pleasures and luxuries he had gotten used to.

Could he really trust this Jesus? Why should he have to give up all that was rightfully his? He was a ruler, not a follower. How could he be expected to blindly submit and follow someone who fellowshipped with the unclean and the sinners?

It just didn’t seem fair! The rich young ruler had carefully followed the law…he faithfully attended all the church services. He did everything right in the eyes of the religious. Yet Jesus said it wasn’t enough!

23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

There’s no way I’m going to give up all this to follow Jesus into poverty.

24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The rich young ruler was just like a camel looking into the eye of a needle. This is impossible! There’s no way I can go through with this! I can’t give up all of my treasures and all of my power. Life as I know it will be no more. Where will I live? What will become of me? I will surely lose everything. I won’t have a life worth living!

26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?

27 And [Jesus] said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

The rich young ruler could’ve cried out to Jesus. Lord, this is impossible! But…if you help me, then I will try. Instead, he walked away sorrowful. He turned his back on Jesus to put his faith and trust in what his riches could do for him.

The Second Camel

In Luke 19, we find Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector, despised by everyone. He is a thief and a scoundrel, getting rich at the expense of his own people.

1And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

Zacchaeus was chief among the publicans. Like the rich young ruler, he indulged in all the pleasures money could buy, but Zacchaeus was not happy with his life. He was searching for something that money couldn’t buy. Unlike the rich young ruler who was only after his eternal inheritance, Zacchaeus had no other ulterior motive except he wanted to see Jesus.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

Zacchaeus didn’t just want to lay eyes on Jesus he wanted to “…see Jesus who he was.” He had heard the stories about the miracles, how Jesus touched lives everywhere he went. I believe Zacchaeus seriously wanted a life change. He was so desperate that he was willing to do anything…

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

When Zacchaeus saw Jesus, he also caught a glimpse of his own wretchedness. Zacchaeus realized he was a lowly sinner in need of a savior. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus’ hungry heart, the Savior reached out in love and compassion. The instant Jesus spoke to this little man, Zacchaeus surrendered and sold out all he had and received Jesus joyfully and took Him into his home.

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

Yes, Zacchaeus was a sinner, but now he had a Savior. Unlike the rich young ruler, Zacchaeus never asked Jesus for anything. He never once questioned what he could gain. Instead, Zacchaeus offered up all that he had.

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Zacchaeus was so sorry for his sin that he was willing to give half of all his goods to the poor, as well as pay back four times the amount to all those he had cheated.

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

 

Zacchaeus traded all his riches for salvation, something worth more than all the treasures in the earth.

Two Camels, One Needle

Two very rich men stood before Jesus. The first camel wandered around the needle saying it’s impossible. The rich young ruler could have asked Jesus to help him. He could have asked Jesus to change his heart. The rich young ruler could have said I’m willing to be made willing. I’ll go through the eye of that needle no matter what it takes. Instead the rich young ruler walked away and forfeited eternal treasures for his earthly riches that would soon fade away.

The second camel faced the same impossibility as the first camel. The eye of the needle didn’t change…it was still just as tiny and narrow. It wasn’t any easier for Zacchaeus than it was for the young ruler. Zacchaeus found himself staring into the eye of the same needle and had to decide. Is Jesus worth it? Should I give up all my riches and my position? Do I take a chance and trust this Jesus to be my everything?

Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler both met Jesus, under the same conditions. But only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own weakness. Only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own inadequacy. Only Zacchaeus acknowledged his own sinfulness. Only Zacchaeus longed for forgiveness.

Zacchaeus believed on Jesus and trusted Him to be his personal savior. He made Jesus Lord of his life. When you really see Jesus for who He is, then you also see yourself for who you are. It becomes crystal clear: you owe Jesus everything! Selling out is not the ticket to salvation, but the fruit of salvation.

Zacchaeus chose to trust Jesus. His heart was changed! His sins were gone! And Zacchaeus had the promise of treasure in heaven!

 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Matthew 19:21

What about you? Maybe you’re not wealthy by society’s standards, but you don’t have to be rich to trust in riches. Some spend a lifetime spending money they don’t have pursuing riches and pleasures that will all burn up one day.

Maybe that’s not you. Maybe you live a simple life…never needed a lot of money.

So money is not your pursuit…but you have a wealth of other things you haven’t fully surrendered to Christ. Are you willing to sell out all you have? Your thoughts, your ideas, and opinions? Your hopes and dreams? Your plans? Your passions? Will you give it all up to follow Jesus?

The rich young ruler wanted insurance of eternal life, but wasn’t willing to sacrifice anything in this life to get it. He was so caught up in the here and now…

What are you trusting in today? What are you pursuing? What has a hold on you?

Do you know Jesus as savior and Lord? Or are you putting on a religious front, going through all the Sunday morning motions? Like the rich young ruler, maybe you do all the right things. You have the church crowd convinced, and you don’t feel quite as guilty, but deep down you know something is missing.

Jesus wants all of you! He’s not interested in your bank account. He’s not interested in your possessions. Jesus wants you to sell out everything so He can become your everything.

What does it mean to be sold out to Jesus?

It’s not about money, but goes much deeper than that. When all the stuff this world has to offer…relationships, pleasures, positions, pursuits. When you reach the place the world no longer satisfies you, then you will know exactly what it means to sell out to Jesus Christ.

If you’ve reached this point and you are ready to make Jesus Lord of your life, all it takes is a simple prayer of surrender. Jesus, I am a sinner in desperate need of a savior. I’ve been disappointed one too many times by what this world has to offer. I need something real that won’t ever let me down.

Jesus, I surrender everything I have. Now You are all I have! Jesus, be my everything today and forever!

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026: Preparing for a Feast

Preparing For A Feast - Sun Mar 6

Has this world left you feeling a little empty? Okay, maybe more like starving! You used to be so excited about what the future held, but then the disappointments came…one right after another. Now it seems like you’re always scraping the bottom of the barrel, looking desperately for something to fill the void. Sound Familiar?

Have you been blindsided by circumstances beyond your control? Or are you just reaping a harvest of bad choices and sinful living?

No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you don’t have to live in need. God wants to bring you to a place of abundance, a place of blessing. Right now you may feel poor and destitute, but do you realize it’s God’s will for you to eat at the King’s table?

No matter how great the need, God “…is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

If you are facing the impossible, tune in to this podcast episode and prepare yourself for a feast. Your impossibility may be the very invitation that brings Christ in abundance into your situation.

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The Engrafted Word

Engrafted Word - Sun April 17a.m.

In this age of information, the Bible has never been more accessible than it is now. But for some, the Bible is nothing more than a piece of literature, a collection of stories to convey life’s lessons. Others see it as a mere historical document, or just another text book for the academia.

Yes, the Bible is full of mystery and intrigue, and has been the inspiration of many Hollywood productions. However, the Word of God is no fairy tale! Every word of the Bible is true and even secular scholars consider it to be one of the most historically accurate documents in existence.

Yet to the Christian the Bible is so much more than just words on a page, or at least it should be. The Bible is the divinely inspired written Word of God with the power to change lives.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

The Word of God is powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword! Wow! That sounds dangerous! So why do we handle it so carelessly? I’m afraid even Christians have become way too casual with something so precious and powerful.

What is God’s Word to you? Do you realize the Word has the power to direct and change lives for eternity? Or has it just become part of your Sunday morning routine, something you grab once a week on the way out the door to church?

Maybe you’ve been in church all of your life. You know the Bible and can even quote scripture with the best of them. But have you really let the Word of God change you? Can you say you are more like Jesus today than you were yesterday, a month ago, or a year ago?

Okay, I get it. I’ve got to take the Word and apply it to my life.

HOW TO BECOME A DOER!

Yes, you need to be a doer of the Word, but how do you go from hearing the Word to effectively doing the Word?

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

James 1:21-22

Before you can be a doer of the Word, you must receive the Word! You must receive the engrafted Word of God! Hearing the Word won’t change you, but the engrafted Word…now that is able to save your soul!

Engrafted comes from the root word graft. What does it mean to graft something?

Farmers and the horticulture industry depend on every tree in their orchards to maximize production of the best fruit possible. That’s where grafting comes into play.

Growers use various grafting techniques to alter the fruit produced by their trees. They know which tree yields the lushest, fullest fruit. They will take a cutting from this “father” tree and use it to alter the growing characteristics of other inferior trees.

An incision is made into an inferior tree to make an opening where a cutting from the “father” tree can be inserted. The inferior tree, if left alone, will continue to produce fruit of its own poor nature; but when you graft in a cutting from the good tree, the poor tree will start growing branches and take on the new nature of the “father” tree. Once the grafting takes place, the poor tree will begin to produce good fruit just like that of the “father” tree.

In the same way, when God’s Word is engrafted into your heart, a change takes place. You begin to take on a new nature. The things you used to do in the flesh nature are past. With the engrafted Word of God, you begin producing a holy fruit that only comes from the nature of the Heavenly Father.

However, until the Word is engrafted in you, it won’t have the power to change you. A graft can’t just be laid on the surface; it must be placed in the deepest part of your being. There’s no way around it! You must be cut by the Word!

WOUNDED BY THE WORD!

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the Word of God…

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:37

They were pricked in their heart.

It’s not enough to just hear it or read it. The Word must prick your heart!

How many anointed sermons have you heard, straight from the Throne of God, yet you still remain unchanged? Maybe at the time, you were challenged and convicted in your spirit. Like the crowd on the day of Pentecost, you may have even asked “…what shall [I] do?” But you never followed through to allow the Word to be engrafted into your heart.

Why is it that our flesh resists the Word of God so?

They were pricked in their heart when they heard the Word (Acts 2:37). The word prick means to strike through violently. To be pricked is not just a little stick, but a violent stabbing to make a deep open wound.

That sounds painful!

The Word of God can’t be engrafted in you until it has wounded you. Naturally your flesh is going to rise up and resist any kind of discomfort or pain. Your flesh will hinder what the Word wants to accomplish in you, which is to completely change you into the image of Jesus Christ.

The cross of Calvary was very painful! It was no nursery rhyme experience and can’t be depicted as anything less than violent and gruesome. Jesus shed His blood and suffered a cruel torturous death for you and me! I’m sure His flesh cried out and resisted, but Jesus surrendered His will to the His Father’s will.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached and the people were pricked in their heart. The razor sharp Word cut and convicted them to ask “…what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Acts 2:38-39

It’s not easy to come face to face with your sin. However, once you hear the Word, you have a choice to make. You can either commit and be a doer of the Word, or you can walk away and remain unchanged.

Nobody wants to admit their guilt and wretchedness. Dealing with your own sin and shame is painful, but once you do you will be forever changed from glory to glory.

After hearing Peter preach the Word, the people were truly sorry for their sin and repented.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:41-42

They gladly received the Word and continued steadfastly. This means they were committed! They were in for the long haul, no stopping or getting off. The people weren’t content to just attend church: they were the church! The New Testament church wasn’t stagnant but growing and maturing to produce fruit…fruit from a heavenly source. Continuing means to go onto perfection to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every time you respond to God’s Word, God is cutting away the flesh and conforming you to the image of Jesus so that He can use you for His Honor and Glory! That sounds like a privileged opportunity to me…to be used by Almighty God.

Have you been cut to the heart lately? Even Jesus was pierced… But why did the soldiers have to pierce His side? Jesus was already dead! Wasn’t that enough?

33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

John 19:33-34

Recall Jesus is the second Adam. Where the first Adam failed and forfeited his position, the second Adam triumphed. In Genesis, God put a deep sleep on Adam, opened his side and pulled a rib from Adam in order to make him a bride.

Similarly, Jesus had to be pierced in His side so that God could make His Son a bride. If you know Jesus as Savior and Lord, then that’s you! You and I are the bride of Christ: the Church. Every time we are cut by the Word, God is grafting us with the blood and flesh from the very side where Jesus was pierced.

I want to be a part of this church! I know Jesus, but don’t know that I will ever be worthy enough to be His bride. He has done so much for me, but I have absolutely nothing to offer Him!

Your right! We have nothing to offer God. But all He wants is you: surrendered, willing and obedient.

None of us can accomplish anything apart from Jesus Christ!

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

But if you and I, the branches, are grafted and abide in the vine, then we will bring forth fruit, not from our own flesh, but from Jesus Christ.

Is the Word engrafted in your heart? Just reading the Bible or listening to a sermon won’t change you. This may touch you and convict you, but that alone will not transform you into what God wants you to be.

You have to be willing to let the Word of God cut you! No matter how painful, let it pierce deep enough to search out your innermost being. Your flesh will resist, but receive the engrafted Word and release the power to change you into the image of Jesus Christ!

Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

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The dragon and The Lamb

Dragon and the Lamb - Sun May 1am

As gentle as a lamb…A lamb is a weak and defenseless creature. Yet throughout the Bible, Jesus is referred to as a lamb. It’s easy to understand this depiction when we think of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins…the Lamb for sinners slain!

But what about in the book of Revelation? Most of us know the book of Revelation is the end…the culmination of events when Jesus puts an end to the devil once and for all…the same devil who has done everything in his power to intimidate, tear down, and deceive as many Christians as he can.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…

Revelation 12:9

How is a defenseless little lamb going to be a match for a fire breathing dragon?

Stay tuned to this podcast episode to learn more about why you should cling to this little Lamb. Even though the circumstances and trials you are facing are bigger than you, you can rest in this Lamb of God! You don’t have to be smarter or more cunning than the devil! You don’t have to be bigger or stronger than the devil! You don’t have to rise equal with the devil because even when the devil brings his best, God only needs a little Lamb to defeat this dragon once and for all.

Digging Ditches

Digging Ditches

I just don’t understand! I’ve done everything I know to do, but nothing is working! How desperate are you? Are you willing to surrender all control and do things God’s way for a change? Will you follow the Lord, even if His way doesn’t seem to make any sense?

Sometimes God’s way doesn’t seem the most logical at the time. Naturally, we like to understand things and sometimes we get too smart for our own good. It’s hard to surrender to God when you are constantly trying to figure things out for yourself.

At some point, you have to trust God and stop leaning on your own understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust God’s leading even when it doesn’t make sense!

In chapter 3 of II Kings, Jehoram and Jehoshaphat find themselves in a dry, barren wasteland facing a mighty enemy. One of the kings knows he can’t afford to lean on his own understanding. Even when God’s way doesn’t make sense to him he dares to trust God anyway.

The story begins when the king of Moab rises up and rebels against Jehoram, the king of Israel…

But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

Jehoram was a wicked king and “…wrought evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 3:2).

Although Jehoram was ungodly and leading Israel away from the things of God, he didn’t mind enlisting the help of a God fearing man.

Jehoram makes a plea to Jehoshaphat, the good king of Judah.

Will you help me fight the king of Moab? I don’t need your God, except when I’m in trouble. Aren’t we guilty of the same? We like to do things our way, follow our own plans, do our own thing until we are facing tragic circumstances. Then we are quick to call on the prayer warriors.

Jehoshaphat was a righteous king, and for whatever reason agreed to join forces with Jehoram to fight their common enemy, the Moabites. Maybe Jehoshaphat longed for the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah to be united once again.

I can almost picture Jehoram, frantic because his gods were failing him. He’s about to lose part of his kingdom and all the tribute from the king of Moab. The power and wealth that he put so much faith in, along with all the pleasures that it afforded him were fading away. He was distressed!

Jehoram must have relied on the calm, steady nature of Jehoshaphat for his faith was in a God that wouldn’t fail him.

And [Jehoram] said, Which way shall we go up? And [Jehoshaphat] answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

Jehoram, desperate to save himself, followed Jehoshaphat’s plan and went by way of Edom where they joined forces with the king of Edom.

Edom was a desert, barren land. Sadly, the Edomites were cursed to live in this unfertile land all because they were the descendants of Esau. It all started when Esau forfeited his birthright and blessing for a measly bowl of beans just to satisfy his own flesh (Genesis 25).

So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.

Talk about gloom and doom! These three kings were facing the mighty Moabite army, but now even more vulnerable, they were stranded in a barren wasteland with no water supply.

What do you do when all hope is gone and there’s nothing left to do? Most of us would say cry out to God for help. But Jehoram was wicked. Rather than humble himself and turn to God and repent, he mocks and blames God for their predicament…

10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

However, Jehoshaphat trusted the One True God for everything, especially when there was no hope in sight. Jehoshaphat was committed to God not just in the best of times, but in the worst of times as well. He knew he had to seek the Lord for help and guidance, else all would be lost.

While Jehoram ranted and raved about their plight…

Jehoshaphat trusted the Lord! Let’s see what my God has to say!

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

So Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom went to the prophet Elisha to seek God’s will.

Can you imagine what Elisha must have thought when wicked Jehoram sought the advice from a prophet of the very God he had blatantly disregarded and disobeyed?

13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

You can feel the hostile sarcasm of Elisha when he asks Jehoram, “…What have I to do with thee?” Why don’t you go to the prophets of your mother and father? You know the ones you chose to serve instead of the Lord God Almighty. If the idols and false gods that satisfied your flesh were good enough before, why aren’t they good enough now?

Of course, Jehoram smugly replies, your God is no better, “…for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

Elisha agreed to seek God’s will, but made it perfectly clear it was not for the evil King Jehoram. Essentially, if it wasn’t for the godly King Jehoshaphat, Elisha “… would not look toward thee, nor see thee.” Thankfully, there are still people today like Jehoshaphat who have a testimony of living right to please God.

Elisha prayed for an answer and the Lord revealed His will…

16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.

Dig a ditch in the middle of a desert! Not just one ditch, but cover the whole valley full of ditches!

I can hear Jehoram…Really Elisha? That’s all you’ve got! You want us to dig ditches when we should be wielding a sword! How’s that going to defeat the enemy?

Like Jehoshaphat, are you willing to trust the Lord when it just doesn’t make sense?

17 For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

I’m sure they all had their doubts. We are facing an army! We have absolutely no water for the troops or our animals. There’s no clouds in the sky, no sign of rain whatsoever… so where’s the water going to come from?

Have you ever wondered how God would work all the mess out in your life? Are you facing decisions right now that you just aren’t prepared to make? Nothing catches God off guard!

18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

It’s nothing for the Lord, a light thing!

God will conquer the Moabites His way, and not by man’s devices. Put your swords down, pick up your shovel, and start digging!

God said dig a ditch, and He will fill it! If you do your part and obey, God will do the rest.

The Bible doesn’t tell us…but I wonder if Jehoram even picked up a shovel. Or was that just too humiliating…digging ditches in a desert? Really? Was Jehoram content to rest in his tent while Jehoshaphat did all the hard work?

I’m sure it wasn’t easy and Jehoshaphat may have struggled with feelings of resentment towards Jehoram. But Jehoshaphat knew he wasn’t digging ditches for Jehoram or himself. Jehoshaphat dug those ditches because God told him to! This work was for something greater than defeating the Moabites. This work was about the whole nation of Israel, bringing a divided kingdom together to witness the glory of God.

What are you willing to do to be in God’s will? Will you humbly dig a ditch when you’ve planned to wield a sword? God wants to use you to build His Kingdom, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. But it’s got to be His way…

Dig a ditch, and God will fill it!

20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

The water God promised came from Edom. Wait a minute! A miracle came from the barren, cursed wasteland of Edom. Never underestimate what God can do! He can make a way where there seems to be no way. Sometimes your hopeless situation, might turn out to be your next miracle.

God will provide! It may not be how you would have imagined. Trust God anyhow! He is in complete control of every situation you might be facing today and He is faithful to those that are committed to Him!

Okay, it all sounds good! I want to commit myself to God, but I am no king Jehoshaphat. If anything, I’ve been like wretched Jehoram. I don’t deserve a miracle! I’m in this mess because of my own rotten self. I chose this path and it’s only right that I suffer the consequences.

God will take your wretchedness, your mistakes, your faults, and turn all of it into a vessel of honor for Him, if you are willing.

None of us deserve God’s mercy, but He extends it anyway. Without Jesus Christ we all deserve an eternity in hell separated from God.

God wants to work miracles in and through your life, but the greatest miracle starts with knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, not because you deserve it, but because He loves you! God is full of mercy and compassion and wants to work everything out in your life for your good, and for His honor and glory.

The Moabite army assembled, put on their armor, and waited at their border for the battle to begin.

22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:

Miraculously, God angled the sun’s rays just right so that the water reflected red. The Moabites thought the ditches were full of the blood of the three kings and their armies.

23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.

The Moabites reasoned, surely everyone’s dead. The spoils are ours for the taking and we don’t even have to fight for it. And they proceeded down into the camp …

24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.

The Moabites were defeated! Not by man’s way! But God’s way, with a valley full of ditches!

What about your life? Are you facing enemies right now wondering how you are going to make it through? Sickness, cancer, depression, … relationship problems, financial struggles, and the list goes on and on…You worry and wonder how it’s all going to work out.

Do you want to see God move? Then provide the vessel… Dig a ditch to hold the outpouring and God will fill it up to overflowing.

If you need a miracle, God needs a ditch to fill! If you need salvation… He’s the Savior! If you want to be filled… He’s the Baptizer! If you are sick… He’s the healer.

Whatever you have need of, God is willing and able to meet your need. But if you never dig the ditch, how can you expect God to fill it?

Commit yourself to God! Set time aside for prayer! Turn the TV off and read God’s word! Fast a meal or two! Walk in the Spirit! Live a life to please God!

God said to make the valley full of ditches, not just a little hole in front of your tent. But cover the entire community with ditches. The work of God is not just about you… Miracles don’t just happen so my circumstances change. The power of God is demonstrated to point souls to Jesus Christ! An outpouring of God’s Spirit is about building God’s Kingdom and bringing glory to God.

We want an outpouring of God, but are we willing to pick up a shovel and dig some ditches to receive it? When you’re desperate for God, you will dig…But you don’t have to wait for a tragedy to seek the Lord.

Break out that shovel that you used a long time ago when you first got saved. Recall that moment when you first cried out to Jesus. Remember when you were desperate for something this world couldn’t offer.

Pick up that shovel and start digging ditches. Be committed and faithful to God’s work. Don’t question His way. Just dig, and dig, until the miraculous outpouring of God comes.

If you’ve enjoyed this message take a moment to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. You can also subscribe to receive new content as soon as it is published.

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Strange Things

Part 1

Strange Things - Sun April 17pm

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

– Luke 5:26 KJV

A man afflicted with the palsy was too weak to even get off his bed much less walk. The Bible doesn’t elaborate how long he had been suffering. Maybe he used to work in the marketplace, or he could have been a fisherman, or even a scribe in the temple. Now he was good for nothing…worthless, rejected, and stripped of all his dignity.

For whatever reason, four men were burdened to help this crippled man. We don’t know if they were just passing by or if they had known him for years. Moved with compassion, the foursome recognized the established religion of the day was doing nothing to help the sick man. He had no help and no hope! The poor man was snubbed by society and condemned to lay there and die!

The four men must have been inspired when they heard the stories about Jesus. How did a man have the authority to cast out demons? Could He really heal the sick? All the religious leaders they ever knew only cared about themselves. At least Jesus reached out to the hopeless and hurting.

News was out Jesus was preaching in a house in Capernaum. If they could just get the lame man inside where he could be seen, then Jesus would at least do something. Perhaps they weren’t sure what would happen, but something was better than nothing. What did they have to lose? But the man was so feeble they would have to carry him on his bed.

The house was crammed full of people trying to see Jesus. Even the doorways and windows were blocked. Can’t you just imagine the four men pressing through the crowd carrying this man and his bed? “Pardon me, please. This man desperately needs a touch! Jesus is his only hope. Won’t you please let us in?”

People from all walks of life came to see Jesus. From near and far they came to hear what He had to say…

17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.

Luke 5:17

Even “…Pharisees and doctors of the law…” were there listening, critiquing Jesus’ every word, waiting for an opportunity to accuse Him. Surely the four men recognized some of these social elites as they struggled to maneuver the bed through the crowd. You have to wonder if the four men maybe mumbled as they passed, “You watched this poor man suffer and never did anything to help him. Let’s see what Jesus will do!”

The crowd wouldn’t budge! Nevertheless, the men’s faith in Jesus began to rise! The four would get this man in somehow, someway…Desperate times call for desperate measures!

 19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.

Luke 5:19

What? Shoulder a lame man and his bed up on a roof! Bust the stone tiles up to make a hole big enough to lower him down! Wow! Who would go to all that trouble to get inside?

Just imagine the crowd intently listening to Jesus, when suddenly…. THUMP! Clunk! Click! Clack! It was hard to ignore the click-clacking of the footsteps on the stone roof above. Then the pounding, banging, snapping, and cracking of tiles!

Were they crazy enough to cut a hole in the roof? No not crazy…just desperately needing Jesus. The four men weren’t worrying about what the crowd thought. Their eyes were focused on touching Jesus and getting His attention.

Have you been there before? Nobody understands your pain and sorrow. Nothing satisfies the emptiness you feel inside. You desperately need a change of circumstance.

How hungry are you for Jesus? Do you trust Him for everything? Would you go to such drastic measures to be in His presence?

We have seen strange things today…

Were the four men and the sick man the only ones in this large crowd of people needing a touch from the Lord? I’m certain there were others just as dissatisfied with their circumstances. I’m sure there were others in the crowd that day longing for peace and joy. Religion had failed them! Many were yearning to be healed physically and spiritually.

Why didn’t more recognize “…the power of the Lord was present to heal them”? Were they not hungry enough or desperate enough to go to such drastic measures? Were they afraid to make a scene? Or could it be they feared publicly challenging the religion of the day? The religious leaders…they were very intimidating.

20 And when [Jesus] saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Luke 5:20

The power of the Lord was present to heal them! Yet the scribes and Pharisees immediately protested… They were so smug and content, too calloused to even recognize who Jesus was or what He could do. They were too busy analyzing and scrutinizing, so consumed with themselves and their positions that they missed the God of all Heaven!

Jesus said,

24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Luke 5:24

Right away the feeble man obeyed! He picked up his bed and walked out of the crowded house glorifying the Lord!

26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

Luke 5:26

We have seen strange things today…

In an instant, the crowd witnessed the transformation! The symptoms of palsy involved more than just paralysis. The painfully shriveled up limbs, hands, and feet of the man were fully restored back to health. A crippled man healed by the power of God! That certainly was an extraordinary, strange thing!

We have seen strange things today…

The four men went above and beyond what was normal. They recognized the withered man’s only hope was Jesus. The men could’ve given up, but were determined to lay his bed at the feet of Jesus. It was strange what they were willing to do to get one man to Jesus.

Can you say that about your life? Can you say it about your church? Like these four men, are you willing to do whatever it takes to lead people (or just one soul) to Christ? Are you willing to surrender your plans to God’s will…to give up your time and efforts for the cause of Christ?

 The crowd was so caught up in their own agenda that day and refused to move to help a desperate, hurting soul get to Jesus. That didn’t stop the work of God though! Help us Lord to never be so consumed by our own selves that we hinder the work of God.

It’s not about religion! It’s not about church programs! It’s not about you or me!

Jesus said,

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

John 12:32

It’s all about pointing lost, hurting souls to the Cross of Calvary! Not just to be healed physically, but to be made whole by the blood of Jesus Christ. God wants to use your life to lift up Christ. Not just in your church, but at home, on the job, in school, on the street…wherever you go. All you have to do is let Jesus live in you, lift Him up, and He will do the rest.

We have seen strange things today…

The power of God was present to heal them, but only five men even acknowledged it! God longs to save souls, to deliver people from sin, to heal the sick, to restore marriages and broken homes. God wants to move in our midst so that He will be glorified. Like the crowd, how often is the power of God in our midst, yet so many walk away unchanged?

Strange things don’t happen to congregations or religious people! Strange things happen to people that aren’t content with the norm…people that aren’t satisfied with just going to church, singing a few songs, and listening to a sermon. What about you? Has serving God become just a Sunday morning ritual?

Strange things happen to those that are so desperate they will do anything to get to Jesus. Is that you? Is Jesus your everything?

Strange things are for those that are sold out and committed to spreading the gospel! Are you willing to sacrifice all you have to lay others at the foot of the cross?

But I have no talent, nothing to offer God.

God made you just the way you are for a purpose: to glorify His Son, Jesus Christ! God doesn’t need your talents or gifts. He wants someone who’s willing! It’s God’s desire to use each and every one of us to lead a lost and dying world to Jesus Christ! Not by your power, but by the power of God living in you!

Would you share Jesus and let your light shine to point others to Christ?

But you can’t share something you don’t have!

If you don’t know Jesus as Lord, you can. Or maybe you knew Jesus at one time, but got busy or distracted and left your first love. Either way, Jesus loves you and is patiently waiting for you to surrender. All it takes is a simple prayer to be free from your guilt and shame, to feel the peace and love of God cover you, to know you have a heavenly home.

Jesus, I know I am a sinner in need of a savior. Please come into my heart today and be my Lord. I want to be a part of the Kingdom of God!

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