THE PASTOR’S BLOG
 

A Message from Pastor Randy

This Sunday, April 19th, we will kickoff a brand new sermon series “Lifestyles of the Young & Restless.” We look forward to seeing you at 11 a.m. on Sunday as we look at the great topic of a “Home On The Rock” of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Ephesians 5:30-32 (NLT2)
30  And we are members of his body. 31  As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32  This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.

There are a lot of folks who think of marriage in a way that really involves rocks that will end up shipwrecking the home. Some people think that these rocks will give them the life they have been looking for. Some look to the rock of idealism. They think that if they can get married that they will be happy. The only thing is that if one’s life is unhappy when they aren’t married, marriage will only increase the troubles. Others think that the rock of legality will be the answer. By getting married, they will be able to properly according to God’s Word find sexual fulfillment. However, intimacy and communication involve so much more. There are others who think that the answer is the rock of companionship. They would say that it will be the answer to all of this loneliness in my heart. The removal of loneliness isn’t the solution to a happy and sound footing for a home.

The only answer is that the it must be a “Home on the Rock.” It must be founded upon the principles that God has given in His Word. One of the greatest of those principles is that we must forgive. Without forgiving our spouse, a successful marriage is impossible. In fact, forgiveness is probably the number one solution to all of our relationships. According to 1 Corinthians 13:5, love does not keep a record of those who have done us wrong.

Please join us, the Church of the Second Chance or First United Methodist Church this Sunday morning, April 19, at 11 a.m. at http://www.fsfumc.com. We we explore this first topic in the Lifestyles of the Young and Restless.    

 
 
Updated 4/17/2020
 
 

Holy Week Messages: Thursday

 

Luke 23:43-49 (NLT2)
43  And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 44  By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 45  The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. 46  Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last. 47  When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48  And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49  But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching. 

 

Today is Friday of Holy Week. It was this day that the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to die. They sent him to Pilate so that the official act of condemnation and death might be carried out. Jesus stumbling beneath that cross carried it with the help of Simon of Cyrene. On the cross, He died for the sins of humanity. After His death, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took His body to the tomb of Joseph where no one had ever been buried. The Apostle Paul tells us something very interesting.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT2)
3  I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4  He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 

Here’s the Gospel according to Paul: the death of Jesus for our sins, His burial, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death atoned for our sins. Sin demands payment and that payment is death, and we realize that Jesus who was completely without sin died by becoming sin for us. However, without the Resurrection of Jesus there would be no victory over Satan. Everything else would have been for nothing  

1 Corinthians 15:13-14 (NLT2)
13  For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14  And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.

But we can praise God because of the reality of the angelic message to the women: “He (Jesus) is not here; He is risen from the dead.” Because of that truth we have victory in our lives. No matter how dark and bleak things may get there is victory in our lives as He will bring us through. Sometimes grief and despair overwhelm us but Jesus’ resurrection overcomes death and hopelessness in our lives.

Horatio G. Spafford lost his business in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He and his family as dedicated believers were going to London to support the evangelistic ministry of D.L. Moody. He saw his wife and two daughters off and intended to join them later in England. Before departing, he received a telegram from his wife that all are lost except for me. Their two little girls died in a shipwreck at sea. With a heavy heart, he set off to reunite with his wife. At sea, the captain showed Spafford the approximate place that his little girls were buried in their watery grave. He sat down and with tears flowing, he penned the words: “When peace like a river attendeth my way; when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say; it is well, it is well with my soul.” Even in the midst of such heartbreak, he experienced the peace of God.

This Easter Sunday join us online for the Easter worship service at First United Methodist Church, the Church of the Second Chance. We will experience the hope that H. G. Spafford and so many others have that Jesus Christ died for our sins and He arose from the dead. Just go to www.fsfumc.com and click on the link to join our worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday. Why don’t you invite a friend or family member this Sunday to watch? Just copy and paste the following and send it to any and all who are on your email contact list or Facebook friends:

Experience the hope of the Resurrection at the online worship service of First United Methodist Church, the Church of the Second Chance. Join us at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 12 by going to www.fsfumc.com and click on the lick for the April 12 worship service.  

 
04/09/2020

Holy Week Messages: Friday

 

John 13:1-5 (NLT2)
1  Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2  It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3  Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4  So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5  and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. 

 

Today is Thursday of Holy Week. Events in Jesus’ life on Thursday:

  • Jesus sends Peter and John to prepare for the Passover.
  • He gathers with His disciples for the meal.
  • He washes the feet of His disciples.
  • Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper.
  • He rebukes the disciples over who is the greatest.
  • The Passover is kept.
  • He teaches His disciples about the Father’s house (John 14).
  • They sing a hymn and leave for the Mount of Olives.
  • He teaches His disciples about the vine and the branches (John 15).
  • He teaches them about the Holy Spirit (John 16).
  • He prays His great high priestly prayer (John 17).

We could look at so many things on the Thursday of the life of Jesus. We could look at His high priestly prayer. We could look at the subject of Heaven and the place He has gone to prepare us for a place. We could talk about the Lord’s Supper. However, let’s take a look at the Upper Room and what God had to say through John in chapter 13.

John 13:1 tells us that Jesus knew it was now that moment. There were times previously that He had spoken that “my hour has not yet come.” Well, now His hour had come. His hour was the time that He would take upon Himself all of our sins and go to that cruel cross to die for every single one of us. His death was for all, but it would be up to each person if they would receive that gift.

Then, I really like this part of the verse. He had loved His disciples throughout His earthly work. Now, He loved them until the very end. What love that this was. Think of His disciples. It’s so easy to think of their failures. James and John wanted to call fire down to consume some folks who they didn’t like the way they acted. The disciples had so often exhibited a lack of trust of Him. They worried that He would let them drown before He brought calm to the sea by speaking the words “Peace, be still.” Of course, Peter actually denied Him.

Yet, Jesus loved them until the end. I think about that, and it makes me realize that He also loves us to the very end of our lives. Then, He goes with us through that valley of death and takes us up into the arms of eternity. He loves us so much. He shows that love as He taught His disciples. He tells us that He loves us so much that He has prepared us a place in Heaven and will come again and take us to that house He has made for us. He loves us so much He says to us I am the Vine and you are the branches. I want to be connected to you. He loves us so much He says that I am going away, but I am sending to you the Holy Spirit to abide in your heart.

Think on that Thursday evening as Jesus and His disciples met to remember that God had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage as they roasted a lamb. The Passover Lamb for us is Jesus Christ for as the Apostle Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.”   

Please join us this Sunday morning on Easter at 11 a.m. for our Easter worship service online. If you would, could you share with all of your friends on social media, via text, or send out an email to family and friends to be present on Easter Sunday. Perhaps you can copy and paste the following message to at least one person in your email contacts:

The Corona virus may be causing us to feel depressed and gloomy, but we can experience an online experience of joy on Easter. Join us on www.fsfumc.com and click on our Easter morning worship service at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 12, for an uplifting experience.

 

Please Note: We had talked about having a “drive-in” experience on Sunday morning with the possibility that people keep a safe distance apart on the church lawn. While there are two or three gatherings planned by others (to stay in their cars) in that way here in Fort Stockton, we decided to not do it. The discussion of the commissioners in which they closed the parks this weekend and said that we should not get out of our cars led us to be mindful of the public welfare. We want to be viewed as a church that is supportive of the well-being of our community. Also, we have received some tremendous feedback regarding our online worship services, and we are doing everything we can to develop that. Our website worship has been receiving over 70 views which encourages us greatly and we want to try our best to get that out beyond our congregation into the community and area.

 
04/10/2020

Holy Week Messages: Wednesday

 

Matthew 26:1-5 (NLT2)
1  When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2  “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3  At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, 4  plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 5  “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

 

Today is Wednesday of what we call Holy Week. What happened on Wednesday? After all, through the years in America, Wednesday has been the night for midweek service so there must have been something. Traditionally, the Scriptures have been pretty silent about anything happening in the life of Jesus on that Wednesday. However, there may have been an event in which the Sadducees met together to plot against Him, and they probably made the deal with Judas Iscariot who would betray Jesus.

This day is the calm before the storm. They have been plotting through the years of Jesus’ public ministry. As I think about this, I am reminded that Jesus went through all He did that we might have life, that we might put our total trust in Him. Before He ascended back to Heaven, one of the last things that He said to His disciples was the following.

Matthew 28:20 (NLT2)
20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

David Livingstone was the great medical missionary who opened up the continent of Africa to the Gospel of Jesus Christ nearly two centuries ago. After arriving in Africa, he suffered greatly for the cause of Jesus Christ. He contracted malaria and had numerous injuries. On one occasion, he was attacked by a lion, leaving his left arm nearly useless. After serving for numerous years in Africa, he returned to visit his native Scotland where he spoke to groups before returning to the people he loved. As he spoke to those present, they wondered how he could have endured all that he had so far from his native land. His answer was that he had the word and promise of a gentleman of the highest order, the Lord Jesus Christ who said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We have the same promise from our Lord. We can completely depend upon what He has promised us. He says to us that He will be with us. He won’t leave us as orphans. He has begun His work of salvation in us when we accept Him, and He gives us the assurance that He will complete that work in us.

 

04/08/2020

Holy Week Messages: Tuesday

 
Matthew 22:34-40 (NLT2)
34  But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35  One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36  “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Today is Tuesday of what we call Holy Week. What happened on Tuesday? It’s almost like events are building with great rapidity toward the conclusion. In the early days of His public ministry, the crowds gathered around Him as they saw all the miracles and healings which demonstrated this was more than a man. “What manner of man is this that even the wind and sea obey Him?” Events on Tuesday included:
1. Lesson of the withered fig tree.
2. Three parables exposing the evil heart of the religious rulers: the two sons, the wicked vinedressers, and the wedding feast.
3. Dealing with the religious authorities.
4. The widow who gave out of her poverty.
5. The Mount of Olives discourse about the end of the world.
Let us zero in on the activities of the religious class in their attempts to entrap Jesus. It is simply amazing how they think they have Him trapped, and His great wisdom just overcomes all their futile attempts.
The Pharisees are first to take their turn to try to “entangle Him in His talk.” Here’s their question in Matthew 22: 17: “is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Immediately, Jesus recognized the trap they were setting. After all, it’s a simple yes or no answer, right? If He says “yes”, the people of Israel hated the Romans and even more perhaps they hated the Jewish tax collectors. If He says “no”, it will bring the Roman government down upon Him as He has been a person that the multitudes have followed. So, how’s He to get out of it. He asks for someone to show Him a coin. When they show it, He asks them whose image and inscription is on the coin, and they must answer “Caesar’s”. Then, His response to them is simply amazing (Matthew 22:21): “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Round 1: Jesus wins.
Now, the Sadducees take their turn. It’s important to realize that the Sadducees were the progressives or liberals of the day and didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. They come with a bizarre question, based upon the Jewish practice of levirate marriage, in which one’s brother or nearest kin will marry the wife of a close relative who dies. So, here’s their problem which they are confident will stump Him. A man died leaving his wife. He had seven brothers and each of the brothers died after doing their duty of taking her as their wife. Their question is so she had seven husbands over time; so, which one will be her husband in the afterlife. See, they didn’t believe in the afterlife or resurrection, so they think they have Him. Listen to Jesus’ words as He tosses the argument aside.
Matthew 22:29-33 (NLT2)
29  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. 30  For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. 31  “But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, 32  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” 33  When the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching.
Jesus put the Sadducees to shame with His wisdom and teaching. Those who heard Him were astounded or astonished at His teaching. Round 2: Jesus wins.
Now, the scribes come to take their turn. They ask an interesting question: what is the greatest commandment? Another trap is set. After all, who is to say what’s the greatest. Everyone has what they think. Surely it’s “worship God first” or “don’t kill” or one of the other very important ones. From the passage, it appears Jesus instantly answered Him.
Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT2)
37  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
What’s the greatest commandment? It is to love. Love God which means we will keep His Commandments and love others as much as we love ourselves. That’s why we are The Church of the Second Chance. We are commanded to love those who have been rejected by churches. Love those that life has displaced. Round 3: Jesus wins.
Love always wins. One other point that Jesus made in John 10 where He’s the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. Jesus stated that no one took His life from Him, but He gave it up willingly. They couldn’t trip Him up so that they would be responsible for His death and bringing it about. Jesus was totally in control always and intentionally gave up His life that we might go free.
 
04/07/2020

Holy Week Messages: MONDAY

 

John 12:20-27 (NLT2)
20  Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration 21  paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” 22  Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus. 23  Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25  Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26  Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. 27  “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!

 

Today is Monday of what we call Holy Week. It is simply in remembrance of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life which led to the most important events in human history. These events are the Gospel which alone brings salvation. It is explained in a brief statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.”

What happened on Monday of that week? First, it’s significant to note that on the day before, which we think of as Palm Sunday, Jesus actually presented Himself to the people as their King. It was a day that the religious rulers despised the people for their great acclaim of Jesus. However, the next day Jesus and His disciples approached a fig tree which had no fruit. He cursed the fig tree which had meaning behind it. The fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel. It represented the fact that the hosannas and tribute paid to Him was not real and that judgment was going to come upon the nation. In those closing days, He looks down on the city of Jerusalem, praying for the nation and weeping because the people refused to accept Him.

Another event on that Monday occurred as Jesus entered the Temple, throwing over the tables, and casting the moneychangers out of the Temple because they had turned the house of the Lord into a den of thieves. However, let’s focus for a few moments on the passage from John 12. There were some Greeks who probably had become Jewish proselytes or followers of the Jewish faith and worshiped in the synagogue. These Greeks came to Philip, the disciple of Jesus. They wanted to meet Jesus. The old KJV of the Bible states simply that they requested “we would see Jesus.”

What a great request “we would see Jesus” or “we want to see Jesus.” Here’s the question I am wondering. In our own lives. do we make that request: “we want to see Jesus?” Then, how do we need to see Him? Do you need to see Him today as healer, provider, comforter, supplier, remover of fear, joy-giver, peace-giver? How do you need to see Him today? Most of all He is our Savior.

Jesus’ response to them is that He must give His life and that through His death many would find eternal life. He tells us to be His disciple we must renounce this world and what it offers while embracing Him. It is the only way that the Father in Heaven will be pleased and receive us. Here Jesus calls us to live a life that is different and that we are to be separate from the world.
 
04/06/2020

The Dream, The Dream, The Dream!

Psalm 40:3 (NLT) He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD. Here’s a little list of some of our guiding principles as we enter the Fall of the year. I think that we have a great group of ideas for the future that will make our church’s future the greatest years that we have ever had. I believe that we can see the most people saved, the greatest development of maturity for believers, and the greatest opportunities for service that we ever have. Mission Statement: Connecting people including the next generation to God and our church. Branding Thought: The Church of the Second Chance Dream: To have a kids ministry in which children have their own worship service and are so excited about kids worship and ministry that they beg their parents take them to church. We will be a church that reaches the next generation of young families while continuing to minister to those we have always reached. We have begun to reach toward our dream. There will be things that will try to tell us we can’t make it or let’s settle for something less. However, we must never give up the dream that God gives us. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be from God. The dreams God gives are those that are too big for human beings to do on their own. It means we can only do it with God’s help. I thank you and salute your First United Methodist in Fort Stockton for the progress we have made. We have seen some increase in our attendance with an average of 40.5 during the first half of the year. Thank you for the following which we have seen happen in our church:

  1. New sound and video system
  2. Updated platform to appeal to the unchurched
  3. Willingness to learn about how to reach others through healthy systems and teams
  4. Beginning to implement two of those teams: WOW Team (First Impressions) and Follow-up Team. In September, we are planning to put in place greeters and parking lot attendants as well as other elements of the WOW Team. So pray for us as we do this.
  5. Cooperating with us by filling out the weekly “Let’s Connect/Prayer Card.” Thank you for filling it out as it enables us to help our guests and give them a better experience. Unless all of us fill it out, our guests are not as likely to do so. The average number of first-time guests who return is 1 out of 23. Through the card, we have goal over the next two years to make that 1 out of 4 will return.

Through your work and leadership, it will happen. Remember we will never change the message of the Gospel, but we must be missionaries to accomplish the Great Commission today.


Read more...

Welcoming Guests

Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

In the great passage above, Jesus has returned as King and Judge. He states that the way that we treat others relates directly to the way we treat Him. When we have shown compassion to others, particularly the least, we have done the same act for Jesus. Notice in verse 35: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

It is important to do so for the following reasons:

  1. Dr. Nelson Searcy tells us that in the first seven minutes from the time a guest drives on the parking lot, he or she will decide to give the church another chance or not.
  2. Bishop Robert Schnase states that according to Edward Deming’s research what churches which are declining do is the reason they decline. Bishop Schnase states it is the same as if a church develops a plan that yields those results.
  3. In the average church, only one person out of twenty-three first-time guests return a second time.
  4. Our church like mainline denominational churches and others is suffering from a great decline as we saw the graph of church attendance since 1985 recently.

At Annual Conference, Bishop Schnase was the conference preacher and he shared the growth pattern for Methodist Churches. We hope that any given year that maybe ten families will move into town. Then, we hope perhaps some of them will see our building or bump into one of our members. Then, we hope maybe three families will come and hopefully two families will kind of stick with the church.

This actually used to work in a Christian culture, but today it doesn’t. We are starting with our hospitality and follow-up teams as we must increase the number who will return to one in four as a healthy rate. We will put in place a team of greeters, ushers, and parking lot attendants over the next few months to make a difference.

However, follow-up is then crucial to ultimately keeping them. The only way that we can effectively follow-up is by showing we care and to do that we have to have a prayer card. Here are the steps and we need everyone’s help if we are to make a difference.

  1. Everyone will receive a prayer card and fill it out. One side is the prayer card side which we emphasize as we want to help our guests and pray for them. When you fill it out, our guests are more likely to fill it out so we ask your help and when you do you are helping those don’t know the Lord come to faith in Him. Regulars and members have this secret that you can just fill in your name and status as a regular or member.
  2.  Everyone has a next step. There are options for next steps that you can take. Sometimes these are generic and sometimes related to the sermon but it is an opportunity to grow in Christ.
  3. Place the prayer card in the offering.

For the regulars, this helps us notice if someone may be sick for a time and missing to check on. For our guests, it’s the only way that we can show we care and help them grow spiritually as a part of our church.

Thank you for loving them and helping us as a church to minister to them.
 

Read more...

To Graduates

Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men….

Years ago, I thought about writing a letter that would be given to each of my children on the day that I go to be with the Lord. I never did it, probably because I was still fairly young at the time and preoccupied with other things. However, as I thought about it, I wondered from my life’s experiences and faith just what advice about life I would offer to others. So, for what it’s worth, here it is.

Of course, it all begins with God. Always keep your life in order with Him. You grow by reading the Bible and prayer, but be sure you put it into practice or in the end it’s meaningless. Find a good church that believes the truth and which wants to serve and impact the lives of others. Don’t simply warm a church pew one day a week. Find a small group, be active in serving, tell others, and live an authentic life as a follower of Jesus. Whenever you sin, immediately confess it.

Following Jesus will be costly. He said it will be. The Devil will hate you. People who don’t live for Him will persecute you. Those who pretend to be Christian will say evil things also and even sometimes those who are Christians may misunderstand and oppose you. If someone in the church wrongs you or perhaps needs correction, follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18 to go to the person and make it right. The way of God is always the best. Don’t publically humiliate them or say that’s not the way we do it. Follow the path of thinking the best of someone and forgiving others even as God has forgiven you. After all, the world won’t want something that we say we believe and don’t practice all the time. Even though it’s costly, following Jesus Christ is the one thing in life that will bring you joy in times of sorrow, peace in times of contention, and comfort when you are heartbroken.

Your home will be happiest if you make Jesus the center of your family. Remember to love each other with all your hearts. It won’t hurt to say the words “I love you” to each other daily. Keep the lines of communication open. Pray together, talk about the Bible together. From the earliest times, teach your children the importance of the Savior’s sacrifice for them and their need of Him.

Always have a heart of humility toward others. Furthermore, don’t give up on others even if they will not listen to reason and continue in a lifestyle that leads to ruin. Never forget that God is always loving and merciful. Of course, sin and wrong behavior have consequences but keep on loving that person God has placed in your path. Pray for them and give of yourself to them even if it hurts. Always trust and believe God that the Holy Spirit is with you to tell others about the love of Jesus that sent Him to die for your sins. Fear will keep you from anything and everything in life, but even worse is it will keep you from telling others that God wants to save them and forgive them of all their past.  

So, love those who are different. Jesus died for them too. Show them the love of God. It’s interesting that at the judgment in Matthew 25, the judgment rests upon how we treat the hungry, homeless, ill-clothed, and mistreated. Show others the love and compassion they need. Listen to God and see if He requires of you the blessing of sacrifice for them. When you see injustice and false charges toward another or a group, speak up for them. Don’t judge people based upon ethnicity or prejudices. Show them that God’s love for all people in Jesus Christ brings people together.

Finally, live your life to please God and not people. It won’t bring you popularity, but on the job, at school or home, at church, always make your love and obedience of God the priority. In some ways, it will give you favor with others. You will be honest and give a full day’s work for your pay for your employer. But in other ways, it will bring ridicule and perhaps persecution. You will have to have courage to speak up for Jesus and resist peer pressure to engage in momentary sinful activities. It might even cost you—a position or ridicule. Remember that your goal must be to please the only One who really counts.

Aim high. Do your best for God. Set goals for your life that are worthy of someone following Jesus Christ. Be determined that you will sacrifice to achieve those goals because it won’t be easy. Be willing to develop yourself and achieve the knowledge and skills that are required. Be assured there will be obstacles, but be determined that you will not be defeated in your pursuit of the goals which God has laid on your heart.

Read more...

Billy Graham’s Legacy

Acts 6:1-7 (NLT)
1 But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily


Read more...