Archive for October, 2021

Giving Away Your Day (Luke 17:11-18:14)

October 29, 2021

16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan, Luke 17:16

I know you are about to say “amen” to what I am about to write. Get ready! Here it is: Every minute of every day is important. I knew you would say amen. The reason I know you know this is because every day is filled with so much and every day is a fight to keep oneself on track as to what is important and what is not important in the day.

This week I have been so reminded of this by Jesus in His Word. It seems that every day I am being reminded of the impact we can have with the correct actions each day. For example, on a certain day Jesus stopped by a well in Samaria (John 4). The conversation that followed between Jesus and the woman not only impacted her, it impacted everyone she would encounter in the days ahead.

It seems that everywhere Jesus went the signs of her impact were there. I see it here in Luke 17. Jesus was passing through the villages of Samaria and Galilee when 10 leprous men cry out from their leper colony: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us,” (17:13).

Question: How had they heard about Jesus? Later in the story, after Jesus had healed them, one of them (a Samaritan) returns to offer praise to Jesus for healing him. As I read this I found myself calling out to God in prayer: Thank you for the impact of that one person. Next I thought, what can God do with my day.

Then it hit me: What would happen if every Christian would begin his or her day by simply saying, “God I give this day to you.”

Brothers and sisters, this is exactly what Jesus teaches us to do in His model for prayer. Jesus teaches us to say, “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” I promise you that your life will have greater impact if you present each day into His hands.

If I offer God a blank calendar, He returns it filled with Kingdom assignments that will impact the world for Gods glory.

2 questions:

  1. On this Friday, will you please offer your day to God?
  2. On this Friday, will you erase what God says is not impactful?

Taking Away the Stone (John 11)

October 28, 2021

 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” John 11:39

In my years as a pastor I have officiated or attended countless numbers of funerals. Sometimes I will be with a group of pastors and we will share funeral stories. Believe me there are unusual things that happen in funerals. But there is one story I have never heard anyone tell nor have I ever personally experienced.

The story I am referring to is the story of John 11. The late E.V. Hill once said, “Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended.”

This morning as I reread John 11, I tried to visualize the story. I pictured in my mind a tiny house in Bethany. I pictured a house filled with concerned friends and family. Lazarus had gotten sick and it was more than a cold. Each day he was getting worse and the local doctor could not pull him out of his sickness. Lazarus sisters (Mary and Martha) were there praying and doing all they could to help.

I imagine them saying to each other, I know Jesus could heal our brother. So they sent word to Jesus. I see them praying and waiting with anxiety as their brother got worse each hour. Their anxiety turned to panic, would Jesus make it. Suddenly, Lazarus stopped breathing and it was over. Look at the scene, people mourning and wailing over the dead. Jesus had not made it. It was all over.

The burial would happen that day after they had prepared the body. I see four men gently lifting a stretcher to carry the body. They come to a tomb and gently they place Lazarus in the tomb. Now they rolled a stone in front of the doorway.

Brothers and sisters, I feel the sadness. One question fills my heart: Where was Jesus?

Here are 5 thoughts to consider:

  1. God does not work on our time table. He works for His glory and our good (11:4).
  2. God’s timing is always for the purpose of increasing our faith (11:12). Sometimes it hurts on the front end.
  3. God’s miracles are aways for the purpose of amplifying the truth. Lazarus story teaches us that Jesus is the resurrection and life (11:25-26).
  4. God’s love for us is deeper and higher than we can comprehend (11:35). Jesus wept!
  5. God’s Word is all we need no matter how impossible our situation is. (11:44). Jesus said, “loose him and let him go.”

Oh the scene has changed from mourning to dancing. There is no one like Jesus.

2 questions:

  1. What stones are in the way of your path?
  2. Do you have faith in His timing?

The Waste Factor (Luke 16:1-17:10)

October 27, 2021

 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. Luke 16:10

You cannot see what I am about to tell you, but trust me it is true. As I type my insides are shaking because of the weight of what I have finished reading. The words of Jesus have opened a chamber of my heart that I did not know was closed. I thought Jesus was in charge of every part of my heart. But this morning I was shaken when Jesus asked me about my faithful stewardship in an area of my life that I was sure I had been faithful with.

Question: Are you open to God’s inspection of your entire heart?

In our focal text for today, Luke records a story given by Jesus. The story is about a rich man who had entrusted part of his wealth into the hands of a manger who was to manage correctly what he entrusted to him. According to Jesus the man was lazy. He wasted what he had been entrusted with.

At the end of the story one is to think about one’s own life. Consider this: The rich man is God. Everything we have in our possession is on loan from Him. To each person God gives different amounts of talents and treasures. The manger is not to complain about what someone else has been blessed with. He or she is to focus on what they have been entrusted with.

If a person is faithful in what they have at the first (little), God will entrust this person with more. But if the person is unfaithful (waste factor) in what they have, no more will be given.

Now here is a footnote: It is possible to gain greater wealth by ungodly means (we see the shrewdness in the manger in the story) but it will not last. Do not fool yourself if you are better off in ungodly ways, it will come crashing down.

As I read Jesus teaching, the chamber of my heart that was closed fell open and the contents were spilled out in front of Jesus for His inspection. I am ashamed to say, He found waste in my life. Oh to God that this would never happen again.

I have good news for you, there is forgiveness with God and there will be more resources entrusted to you if you will become faithful in the little things. Please do not waste the following:

  • God’s Word which has been so richly given to you.
  • Prayer which is the most valuable weapon of intercession.
  • Worship with others, it is your oasis in the drought called life.
  • Family which has been given to you.
  • Talents that have been given for Kingdom use.
  • Witness to others in the places where you have influence.

To all who would read this I say, only when Jesus is Lord for your entire heart will you not waste what has been entrusted to you,

2 questions:

  1. Are there things in your life that are off limits with God?
  2. In what ways have you been challenged today?

What’s going on at their table? (Luke 14-15)

October 26, 2021

14 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. Luke 14:1

I confess, it’s true. Yes there are times when I am sitting at a table listening to what someone else is saying at another table. Now, do not be to condemning, because you are also guilty of doing the same. I sometimes form opinions of people by simply looking at their table and what they are eating.

Often I get it wrong after hearing their conversation. In Luke 14 we are told about a table gathering between Jesus and a Pharisee. This Pharisee had invited Jesus and others for a meal. As always, the Pharisees were trying to trip Jesus up so that they could condemn His ministry.

I imagine being at a table to the side listening to the discussion at the lead table. As I listen I discover that everything is not as it seems. Please take time to read Luke 14 before you read any father in our blog.

Wow! There was a boatload of teaching that came out of this sitting around the table. Here is what I heard:

  1. Jesus taught, when he healed the man, that people are the highest priority of God. People trump ritual every time.
  2. Jesus taught the importance of humility in life. People who elevate themselves will be humbled by God.
  3. Jesus taught the importance of caring for those who have nothing to offer in return. Life is not about what we get, it is about what we give.
  4. Jesus taught the glorious reality of room in the Kingdom of God. People are being called to the kingdom.

I am sure, if you read the text that you heard these things and many others. We each have an ear that God wants to speak. I believe with all my heart that you and I need each day to take a seat at Jesus table for the purpose of being taught by Him. So often we are at tables where we are the only ones talking.

2 questions:

  1. What will go on at your table tonight?
  2. How can you change up what goes on at your table tonight?

What are you doing with what you have? (Luke 12-13)

October 25, 2021

48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48

It’s very early as I write the blog for the day. I am sitting here waiting to meet with a brother who is using what he has for Jesus. This brother works two jobs, leads and overseas missions, loves and leads his family well, and still cares about meeting with someone to grow in his faith. This brother is an example of what Jesus teaches in Luke 6:48.

Jesus says, “To everyone to whom much is given.”

Has the Lord given you much? The problem with many of us is that we think we have not been given very much. But a deeper accounting will reveal that you have far more than you think you do. The brother I am about to meet with is a living testimony that there are a lot of things we have that only surface when we surrender ourselves totally to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Earlier in Luke 12 Jesus offered a parable that illustrates how people struggle with understanding what they have. Jesus said a farmer (small farm) was blessed with a great harvest. He decided to increase his farm. He was a self-consuming guy. He felt everything existed for him. This is why he had little to invest with.

The story Jesus told ended with the man dying suddenly because God required an account of what he was doing. I believe it is so true: If you want to waste your life be a self-consuming person. But if you want your life to count become a person who has the Kingdom mindset that says, all I have can be used for God’s Kingdom Work. If this is you, be ready because God is going to increase you more and more.

I want to be like my friend and even more so, I want to be like Jesus!

2 questions:

  1. Where is your heart invested in this season of your life?
  2. What could you be doing with what you have by placing it all at God’s disposal?

Dying In Your Sins (John 7-8)

October 22, 2021

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” John 8:21

You know it is going to eventually happen. Yes, admit it, you are going to die. It is true that we do not focus on dying because we are so busy with living. Just know, at some point (not of your choosing) you and I will die.

The writer of Hebrews teaches us that once we die, we will stand in judgment before God (Heb. 9:27). After the judgment we will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell (John 5:27-28).

In our focal passage, Jesus was teaching in the Temple. The common people were gathering to hear Him speak. A group of religious leaders attempted to destroy the meeting (Check out John 8:1-11). These events set the stage for Jesus to debate with those who were not ready to die.

According to Jesus, they were spiritually in the darkness (John 8:12). They were rejecting the light of Jesus. Jesus said, “You will die in your sin.” Oh how tragic that one would die in their sin. This did not have to be true. Jesus had come to pay the debt for their sin and to deliver them from death by tasting death for them (John 8:52; Heb. 2:9). But because they would not turn from their sins to trust in Jesus, they were dying in their sins and they did die in their sins.

But it could have been so different. I am so thankful that it can still be different for people today. Personally I can tell you that it is different for me:

  • Jesus has become my light (8:12).
  • Jesus has become my source of life (7:38).
  • Jesus has become my Lord (8:31).
  • Jesus has given me eternal life (8:32).

Yes, it will eventually happen. I will come to the end of the road in life. He has been my light. My spiritual life is all Him. As Lord He is leading every day. I know there will be the day when I come to death’s door. When I do, He will walk me through the valley of the shadow of death and He will open the door of Heaven ushering me into His eternal life.

When I die, I will not die in my sins! Praise His Holy Name!

2 questions:

  1. Where will you go when you die?
  2. Who is is your source of life and joy today?

Missing the Point (Matthew 18)

October 21, 2021

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven

As we open our Bibles to Matthew 18, it is with the understanding that Jesus (as recorded by Matthew) was turning His attention toward Jerusalem and the coming of the cross. His mission was coming to its most important moment. However the disciples were missing the point.

As they traveled, His disciples asked Jesus the following question: Which one of us will be greatest in your kingdom. Here are guys who were missing the point of the cross entirely. They were focused on their own blessings instead of the greater blessing to the world through Christ work on the cross.

I love how Jesus makes the point that they are missing the point. He ask’s a child to come and stand beside of Him. I see the child in complete trust coming to Jesus side. Jesus says:

  • I am calling you each to turn to me. They needed to turn away from self and follow His path of service to others.
  • I am calling you each to become like this child in trusting in me as the one who is worthy of following.

The rest of Matthew 18 teaches us how to live out an on point life. Brothers and sisters I want to live out an on-point life. In Matthew 18 we see no less than six characteristics of on point people:

  1. A humble attitude in life. 10:4
  2. Helping others to grow in their faith. 10:5-6
  3. Seeing and helping those who wander from the path of faith. 10:10-14
  4. Biblically seeking to restore those who sin against them. 10:15-18
  5. Committed to corporate worship and prayer. 10:19-20
  6. Forgiving from the heart. 10:21-32.

Brothers and sisters I would encourage each of you to take time to read through the text of Matthew 18 and ask yourselves which of these characteristics are in your life and which need to be in your life. I can truly say, this text has helped me to get back on the track in some areas of my life.

My prayer to God was very simple this morning: Please do not let me miss the point. My pray for you is the same.

What Mood Are You In? (Matthew 27; Luke 9:28-62; Mk. 9)

October 20, 2021

“But He turned and rebuked them. He said, ‘you do not know what manner of spirit you are.” Luke 9:55

Do you ever allow the mood you are in to dictate how your day is spent? I know the answer you gave. You probably thought, I don’t want to admit it, but I sometimes allow my moods to control the day.

We see this in the life of Jesus disciples in our Scripture for the day. Here are a few examples:

  • On the Mount of Transfiguration they were in a mood of great fear. They did not know what to say.
  • Along the road they were in a prideful mood. In their pride they argued over who was the greatest.
  • In Samaria they were in an angry mood. They wanted to call fire from Heaven.
  • Along the road they were in a superior mood. They wanted to stop others from ministering in Jesus name.

Let’s be honest, we have evidenced such moods and hundreds of others as well. I know the following to be true: When I allow my moods to control my life, I am less productive for God.

I also know when I follow Jesus teaching, I am very productive for God. Here is Jesus teaching; “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help at all,” John 6:63.

The disciples would come to know this truth on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). These men would come to live under the Spirit’s anointing. Yes, they would have different moods and yes they would blow it from time to time. But from the day the Spirit came to reside and rule in their lives, the old moods no longer were in charge.

The teaching of Paul helps us to grasp this truth:

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

I will not listen or be led by my fleshy moods. I will listen and be led by His Spirit. This is the life I want to live apart from my moods!!!

2 Questions:

  1. What mood is prevailing in your life this week?
  2. How has today’s Scripture encouraged you?

What do you believe? (Matthew 16; Mark 8; Luke 9:18-27)

October 19, 2021

 Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6

In a recent article George Barna stated the following: “nearly 72 percent of churches don’t look to the Bible as their final source of authority and direction.” If this is the case, it now makes sense as to why our nation is in the spiritual condition that it finds itself in.

In Matthew 16 Jesus gave a strong warning to his disciples. He warned them that the Jewish leaders were teaching truth that was not truth from Heaven. Their teachings were causing people to miss the mark with God.

I believe Jesus strong warning applies to our day as well. Consider this, if 72 percent of churches are not looking to the Bible for truth, then where are they looking? What are they teaching and who are their teachers? Here is what Barna goes on to report:

The dominant worldview in America today is “syncretism,” which involves “picking and choosing” elements from other worldviews, Barna said. The result: Americans’ worldviews often include beliefs that conflict and contradict one another. All total, 88 percent of American adults hold to syncretism, according to data from Arizona Christian University’s Cultural Research Center.

I believe I can be safe in saying, Americans are picking beliefs that they want to believe. If you take the time to think through this, you will be shocked.

Here is one example of what I mean. Consider a person who choses to believe that electricity is not dangerous. Imagine that person opening a transformer box (no doubt there is one in your neighborhood) and taking a large screwdriver and touching every part of the transformer. Imagine them saying, I believe I am ok. The result would be deadly.

In the same way, people are choosing to believe God’s Word is a take it or leave it encounter. But this is not true. The Bible says, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and though shall be saved.” It does not say, believe if you want to.

Today I want to challenge you in the following ways:

  1. If you are not already, become a person who has a Biblical Worldview. Be a person who places everything before the lens of Scripture.
  2. Test everything you hear being taught against the Word of God itself.
  3. Check your own life before God. Seek to know if what you believe is truly God’s Word.

Only when we are teaching and living out God’s Word can the church be a light to the world.

Uprooting your heart (Matthew 15; Mark 7)

October 18, 2021

12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Matthew 15:12-13

Sometimes it seems that certain people have the ability to uproot things in your heart. My precious grandmother had that ability. There were times when she would speak to certain people and it would offend them in the worst of ways. As a young boy I would ask my grandmother why the person got upset. Here was the response she always gave, “the truth hurts.”

In Matthew 15, the disciples point out to Jesus, what he already knew, that he had offended the Pharisees by what he had said to them. Take a moment and allow your eyes to focus on what he said:

He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”[a] he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word[b] of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

8 “‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Brothers and sisters, I get it. It would be hard not to be offended if someone said, you are a hypocrite and then pointed out an area where you were hypocritical. As my grandmother said, “the truth hurts.”

But I can tell you this, “the truth helps.”

A heart left to itself will mass produce all kinds of sin as Jesus points in Matthew 15:19-20. A heart cut by the Word and filled with the Word will be a heart that mass produces all kinds of fruit for God’s glory.

This morning I want to challenge you to appreciate those who offend you for the sake of your heart and soul. Consider such people as God’s messengers.

My grandmother loved me and she loved others enough to tell us the truth. Yes, there were times when she could have included mercy in how she said what she said, but the truth was the truth.

Question: Who is the person who has access to your life in such an intimate way that they could offend you?

Jesus said in Lk 7:23 “Blessed is he who is not offended by me.”

Question: How can what you have read today change your heart?

Two things most people need to change:

  1. We need to change the way we read God’s Word. We need to first say, speak to me about me Lord.
  2. We need to change how we live our lives. We each need to meet with someone who holds us accountable to God’s Word.