Saturday, December 24, 2016

Now is the time to rededicate yourself to the Christ.


"We know you can live three days without water. You can live three weeks without food. But you cannot live for three minutes without hope." - Rabbi Hugo Gryn

Hanukkah commemorates a battle won, despite astonishing odds, by the Maccabees against the Seleucid monarch Antiochus and those Jews allied with him, who appeared ready to abandon their tradition. But later rabbis, uncomfortable with military-themed celebrations, focused the holiday on the miracle unmentioned in the book of Maccabees—that in the Temple, after it was cleaned out, a cruz of oil that should have lasted one day lasted eight.

Hannukah is a time of rededication.  A time to rededicate the Temple to God.  A time to rededicate yourself to the Christ.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32 (KJV)

29 When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;
30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas - a great promotion of deception

QUESTION: At what age should children be told that Santa Claus is not real?
ANSWER: Knowing when to tell your child that Santa is not real is one of the most common problems parents have to face. Questions such as who (the parents, the school, friends, etc.) should tell your child this fact or at what age they should be told can come up. Deciding what to do can be tough, especially when adults are constantly pressured by the world to just "go along" with the Santa myth and pretend he exists. Some have the additional problem of deciding how to convey to their kids that the family, out of conscience, does not participate in Christmas.

This modern world has at its disposal an impressive array of techniques and methods in which to promote deception. It can effectively promote how "real" Santa Claus is and how "good" it is to participate in the trappings of Christmas. The pressure to conform can come from the media (e.g. TV, radio, newspapers, books, magazines, the Internet, etc.), entertainment (movies, plays, games, etc.), family, friends, church, the workplace, stores and even schools to name a few.

When my friend's child was young, he and his wife had to deal with the same problem as you have. They found that children learn more by example than by words. Years ago, while they walked in the shopping malls before Christmas, their family would invariably see several versions of Santa along the way. Since they did not celebrate Christmas, they would simply walk past anyone dressed as him without making any comments. One year a woman asked their five year old what Kris Kringle brought him for the holiday. He simply replied, "We don't keep Christmas."

NOTES:  The above was copied from http://www.biblestudy.org/question/is-santa-claus-real-or-not.html.  In my own life, I am surrounded by family and friends, and school and church, that talk about observing Christmas through Santa Claus.  I politely don't participate, but under pressure of my 2 year old singing the Santa songs and talking about Santa coming to our house, I mostly go to my knees in prayer.  I am becoming more aware of how the world is full of self perpetuating lies.  One lie upon another lie, and then another lie to cover for the first five lies.  When will the CHURCH stand up and be HOLY, and put off these untruths?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The 1st and Greatest Commandment

"Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God – Adonai alone."

Sh'ma Yisrael! Adonai Eloheinu - Adonai Echad.

Sh'ma — listen, or hear and do
Yisrael — Israel, in the sense of the people or congregation
Adonai — often translated as "LORD", it is read in place of YWHW out of respect for the tetragram of God's Holy Name
Eloheinu — the plural 1st person possessive of Elohim, meaning “our God”.
Echad — the unified and cardinal number one

Friday, November 25, 2016

My ministry challenge for this week!

"'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' If the Answer is 'no' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

Monday, September 26, 2016

Overcoming Lazy Christianity

This sermon was preached by +ken on 9/25/16 at the House of Praise in Groesbeck, OH.


Before I get started, let me give you a little nugget to chew on. We are going to be in James chapter 1 today, so let’s go quickly to James 1 verse 27, looking at the word Pure. In the Greek, this is the word Katharos – which means clean, clear, or pure. A derivative of this in Greek is Katharsis – which is a performed cleansing. I say that to say this… I want you to have a Cathartic moment today.  Let's go back and read from verse 5.



James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth (reproaches) not; and it shall be given him.
Point 1 = Don’t be lazy in seeking wisdom. Do you think that you are going to just exist in this state of Christianity and just be? What now? How about taking a hard look at yourself, and a hard look at this Christ – the one who brought you salvation. Once you do, you probably realize that you don’t quite understand God’s ways, or even how or even what you are saved from. Have you taken the time to ask for wisdom? He will provide!

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
James 1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Point 2 = Don’t be lazy when the winds of doubt come in. Faith is the substance the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) That takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of effort to gather up things in your heart that you hope for, then walk as though the evidence has produced itself – even when you haven’t seen it yet. I mean, I haven’t seen heaven yet, but there is enough evidence. But lets be clear about it, if we doubt, we’ll never see the evidence.

James 1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:
James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
James 1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

Point 3 = Don’t be lazy in remaining humble. Your humility is greatly honored by God, but your wealth and fame is nothing. You don’t take it with you when you die; it only fades away like the grass. Prosperity preaching is a lie.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Point 4 = Don’t be lazy in submitting yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee. (James 4:7) It takes a lot of work, a lot of self-discipline, to endure temptation. There is one who withstood all temptation, and He became our Savior. Call upon the Name of Jesus in those times, and He will rescue. Here I will digress a little --- there are two different takes on what to do when the devil comes a knocking at your door. First, we are reminded by Paul that we wrestle not with flesh and blood – that being we don’t wrestle with other humans – but rather our enemy is principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) Now, this wrestling, I don’t know about you but the last time I was in a physical wrestling match, I was tired when I finished. A lazy person makes a lousy wrestler. The same with fighting temptation, and striving to maintain our holiness. So there are a lot of times when we need to wrestle, and fight our way out of that temptation. However, there is an even more serious dangerous type of temptation – that of sexual immorality. Let’s be clear, when faced with sexual temptation – RUN!!! You can’t wrestle that demonic of a temptation. RUN!!! Flee fornication, flee pornography, flee sex outside of marriage, flee homosexuality, flee adultery…. RUN!!! Here is why… every sin that a man does is without the body, but every sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (1 Corinthians 6:17) Jesus even spoke, if you look at a woman with lust in your eye, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. (Matthew 5:28) So my warning to you is this, if you are tempted with pride or lying or stealing – yeah, go ahead and wrestle with the devil – tell him how defeated he is and how victorious you are. But if you are tempted with sexual immorality, you need to run far from it. Go to a Godly brother or sister (of the same gender) and confess that temptation – and flee. Don’t try and reason with the enemy, FLEE sexual immorality. Your body is the temple of the LORD, do not defile it.

James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us (brought into existence) with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Point 5 = Don’t be lazy in recognizing God’s gifts to you. Here is the dichotomy of the Righteousness of God. God’s Righteousness is good news for you, but the Righteousness God is also bad news. Let me explain!!! God is Righteousness – this is great news! – God is holy – God cannot sin – God cannot do bad – God cannot turn from His Word – God cannot change His Covenant – God does not lay a trap for you --- these are all the good news about God’s Righteousness. However, God’s Righteousness is man’s greatest problem. God’s Righteousness cannot coexist with ungodliness. Forget about those bumper stickers you see that say “Coexist” – it can’t happen. God will not be mocked. It is dangerous for mankind. We want to reflect on how awesome it is to be a child of God, but then get so proud and arrogant and forget that Holiness means without spot or blemish and that Righteousness means being morally right. And in forgetting these things, we forget to recognize the Shekinah Glory covering over us; we forget to recognize the shedding of the Blood for the remission of sins, we forget to recognize the WORD made flesh and dwells among us. It is great good news that God would shower blessings upon His people, but it is a great bad news when His people forget to walk in these gifts, and allow ungodliness into their lives. I tell you, except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10) and seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you! (Matthew 6:33)

James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
James 1:20 For the wrath (violent passion) of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word, which is able to save your souls.
Point 6 = Don’t be lazy with your tongue. In God’s infinite wisdom, He gave us two ears and one mouth – better for us to hear, and not as quick to speak, thus providing time to be slow in anger.

James 1:22 But be ye doers (performers) of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
James 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Point 7 = Don’t be lazy in acting upon the Word. It is true that sometimes the seed gets thrown on rock or the seed gets choked out by weeds. If you look deep into your life, you can see moments when you rejected part of God’s Word. So from Psalm 95 and Hebrews 3, Today, if you hear His voice, Harden not your hearts… But a question I have for you here…. Do you really understand what verse 25 means when it says “shall be blessed”? Let me digress a bit more here…. For it is super important to know what “blessed” means. Let’s look at Psalm 1 --- READING -
Psa 1:1 Blessed are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Psa 1:2 Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the LORD, and they study it day and night.
Psa 1:3 They are like trees that grow beside a stream, that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.
Psa 1:4 But evil people are not like this at all; they are like straw that the wind blows away.
Psa 1:5 Sinners will be condemned by God and kept apart from God's own people.
Psa 1:6 The righteous are guided and protected by the LORD, but the evil are on the way to their doom.

  • Blessed – reject evil advice
  • Blessed – reject sinful examples
  • Blessed – find joy in following the Law of the LORD
  • Blessed – meditate day and night
  • Blessed – are like trees well watered, bearing fruit, never drying up, always successful
  • Blessed – don’t blow away in the wind
  • Blessed – are not condemned – there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ
  • Blessed – are guided and protected


James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Point 8 = Don’t be lazy in your pursuit of pure religion. I gotta break it to you, the motions we go through when we stand or sit or kneel – or even raise our hands or sing our hymns --- this isn’t religion. Coming to this church every Sunday isn’t religion. Calling your pastor a pastor isn’t religion. While these things seem wonderful, they ain’t religion. These things are only “going through the motions.” No offence to the singers or to the pastor, but lacking one thing – without one major thing – all of us are unfit to worship God; each of our good deeds are merely filthy rags. We dry up like leaves; our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6) It is only the anointing of Jesus Christ in our lives that allow us to come boldly before the Throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). So as God gives us grace, which in Greek is the word Charis – of which we get the word Charity – here is where God’s desire for true religion lies. Your charity toward orphans and widows is God’s heart. But let’s not forget the last part of this. Keep yourself unspotted from the world. Religion wasn’t / isn’t supposed to be man-made rules. True religion is following God’s commandments – giving Him the glory. Again, this takes a lot of work. We have to weed out the bad advice of bad preachers. We have to clear out the sin in our lives so we can hear the Holy Spirit. Working out our salvation with fear and trembling --- because don’t you know? Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1st Corinthians 6:9-10)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Getting a new relationship with your sin - one mark of a Christian

Recently, my prayer has been transformed to asking God that His people would have a new relationship with their sin.  It is one thing to have a new or fresh relationship with the LORD - but we ought to have a fresh relationship with our sin.

You see, for every attribute of God that exists - there are so many of them - we need to realize that what we are really doing is identifying a statement of comparison.  For when we say that God is Holy, that brings the comparison that something else is unholy.  When we say that God is righteous, that brings the comparison that something else is unrighteous.  When we discuss how everyone who has victory will not have their name erased from the book of life, that brings the comparison that some will not have victory.

Jesus Himself spoke that there are some people to whom He will say, "Get away from me, I never knew you!"

So I encourage you my brother and sister, freshen up your relationship with God.
But also, develop a fresh relationship with your sin.

We often ask the question of, "Do you really know God?"
I'm asking also, "Do you really know your sin?"

How can we know what Holiness is, how can we know how much we need God... until we see how full of sin we are indeed.  Please allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you everything that is unholy in you.

Remove the junk from your life, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

The admonishment is that the Wages of Sin is Death.
But the glorious good news is that God's gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ the LORD.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

When temptation comes, STAND




Stay True and Never Deviate

We, every single one of us, struggle with temptation at some point in our day, even every hour.  There is an inherent part of us that wants to turn away from the truth and follow our own selfish desire.  Our body is at war with our spirit.  So the winner, will be what we desire the most.

God said He will give us the desires of our hearts, so if we desire to remain stuck in our sin, so be it.  But if we desire to be over comers, so be it.

In my personal life, I admit that I have great weakness with certain temptations.
But lets look at 1st Corinthians 10:13-15.(CEV translation)

You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations. My friends, you must keep away from idols. I am speaking to you as people who have enough sense to know what I am talking about. 

So we can realize that whatever our temptation is... whatever we are struggling with, there isn't anything new under the sun.  All of us are tempted the same way, and God is faithful to provide an escape route!!!  Do you realize what that means?

It means we don't have to struggle.  It means we just have to trust.

And to make it even simpler, I just need to trust in God.  In this, I have learned something simple.

When ever I am tempted, I just need to stand.   Yes, literally, I stand, and I lift my hands to surrender to the Almighty Powerful God who Saves me.  I surrender to the One who has the escape planned for me.

So friend, I encourage you to turn to Jesus - desire Him the most, and He will give you your desires.

Stay True and Never Deviate -  that escape route will be made clear to you.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The impatience of wanting a harvest...

There are moments in ministry where we feel the urgency of wanting the best for our friends, but the frustration of not immediately seeing the fruits of the ministry. So I'm just going to leave this prayer here....

If you've known the agony of impatience, please pray with me.

  Holy Father, please bless me as I try to lead __________ (put the name of several non-Christian friends here) to forgiveness and healing in Jesus. Give me the tenacity and tact to do this with gentleness and respect without losing my sense of urgency to see their names written in the Lamb's Book of Life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Matthew 20:1-16 --- The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard


This is a tough parable to read.  In the flesh, I think we have all experienced a little unfairness regarding our own salaries.  Certainly, we work hard, but there is always someone who works less and yet they earn more.  I don't understand it in the secular sense.

But with Ministry, I think this parable has real value, and should be taught in seminary and in church as a reference to the value of what happens when we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The value of the pastor's work is no more valuable than the janitor's work.  The value of the street preacher is no more valuable than the secretary's work.  All who proclaim the Mysteries of God and all who labor to lift up Jesus Christ need to remember that the work we do isn't about us.  The work of spreading the Gospel, if it were reckoned on the scale of the recordings in the New Testament, would most likely lead to our own crucifixion.  We need to stop placing ministers on pedestals, and start working side by side with them to support the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

We will receive the same inheritance, if our name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  Therefore, put off the childish bickering of what ministerial role is more important.  

You are just as valuable, and you will receive the same reward for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So be empowered, and be bold!  Lift up the Name of Jesus!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why does a person fear?

1John 4:18  Where God's love is, there is no fear, because God's perfect love takes away fear. It is his punishment that makes a person fear. So his love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. 

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This verse is usually memorized... at least the first part of it.  

And it is a beautiful verse to memorize.  It brings comfort and hope that God will always be demonstrating His love to us.  But it also calls us to think responsibly about why we may have fear in our hearts.

This verse  shows us the redeeming power of God to always provide for our mental well being.  If we continue looking at what God's love can do for us, we keep smiling.  But perhaps we should be a bit more practical about this passage -- we need to put it into practice!

As the pressures of life surround us, when bills pile up after unexpected expenses, or when a death of a loved one causes us to reflect on our own life and vitality, and when the stresses of our job come rushing into our minds.... what is the typical reaction?

We begin to worry, we run "what if" scenarios, even developing contingency plans perhaps?  That worry can turn into a fear... and we have become afraid of our circumstances.

In this Bible passage, the origin of the word "fear" comes from the Greek "phobos."  Yes, this is the word that is known in psychology as phobia.  A phobia is an anxiety disorder, and describes the persistent fear where the person commits to great lengths in avoiding a situation, even when recognized as irrational in his or her reasoning for avoidance of that situation.

So, blessings upon you as you reflect on the fears in your life.  May those fears be replaced with God's perfect love.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Heilig Heilig Heilig ist der Herr Gott Allm├Ąchtig!