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Like Forrest Gump… Many Do Not Realize They Should Be Looking For Jesus

April 19, 2014

Last night, I watched the movie “Forrest Gump.” There is a scene in the movie where “Lt. Dan” (played by Gary Sinese) and Forrest are in Lt. Dan’s apartment around the holidays. Lt. Dan lost his legs in Vietnam and like many people who experience something like that, he’s become cynical.
Lt. Dan says, “Gump, have you found Jesus?”
Forrest is a little slow mentally and replies, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir?”
It’s a funny line.
But Forrest represents lots of people. There are lots of people who going through life and they are getting college degrees.. graduating… getting good jobs.. marrying… raising families etc… who aren’t looking for Jesus. They think they are doing just fine like they are.
But this weekend, some of those people may attend a church service. It’s Easter. And on Easter and Christmas, for some, going to church is kind of the “thing to do.” When they attend a service, we have to pray that God’s Holy Spirit helps them to realize that they need to be looking for Jesus. They need Jesus.
You may know someone who fits in this category. Someone who isn’t looking for Jesus and they feel like they are doing just fine without Him, thank you very much. If so, prayerfully, gently, invite them to Easter worship. Pray that God’s Holy Spirit helps them to realize the need for Jesus.
But let’s look at this from another angle… as Christians, we should be living in away that leads someone else to see that there is a difference in our lives. No, we aren’t perfect. But, we should live for Jesus in such a way that our neighbors, colleagues at work, family members can see that we have something they don’t. That “something” is a relationship with Christ.
This weekend, I pray many people skeptical people.. maybe even some who are atheists would attend a worship service and have an encounter with the risen Lord.
Jesus lives!

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“Six Hours One Friday”

April 18, 2014

“Six Hours One Friday.”
It is the title of a book written by Mac Lucado.
But the title of the book came from the six hours that Jesus Christ spent on the cross of Calvary. The Bible tells us that Jesus was crucified between two thieves. Jesus was on the cross for six hours. During that time, he spoke seven times from the cross. Toward the end of this time Jesus said “It is finished” which means mans sin debt had been paid. But what did that mean?
In the book of Genesis, the Bible says that man brought sin into the world when man took of the fruit in the garden. As a result of that, every person that comes into the world is a sinner. And there is nothing man can do to solve his sin problem. Man can’t do enough good things. Man can’t memorize enough scripture. Man can’t go to church enough. The Bible says “All our righteousness is like filthy rags.”
God knew that man couldn’t solve his sin problem and man had to have a Savior. So, God sent His Son into this world. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin so he was a perfect sacrifice. But then, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, went to the cross. During Jesus’ six hours on the cross, Jesus became sin to forgive us of our sin. Jesus took all the sin of history.
Jesus took every sin that had ever been committed and every sin that will be committed and they were all placed on His body. During the six hours Jesus was on the cross, every bit of suffering… every bit of pain that Jesus experienced was because of our sin. Jesus suffered for you and me.
Today, remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross… “Six Hours One Friday.”

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The Fake Trial of Jesus

April 17, 2014

Have you ever had someone do something to you that was wrong? I mean, just plain WRONG? More than likely you have. And, when it happens, it stinks royally, doesn’t it?
Well, if it helps any, Jesus faced it as well. On Thursday night of Holy Week, Jesus was arrested. He was then given trial that was absolutely fake. If the trial were held today, attorneys would be screaming for a re-trial and the verdict would be over-turned because so many rules were broken.
First, in Jewish law, no trial was to be held during feast time and the Passover was taking place. Second, each member of the court had to vote to convict or acquit but Jesus was convicted by acclimation. Third, if the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out but Jesus was crucified in hours. Fourth, the Jews had not authority to execute anyone. Fifty, no trial was to be held at night. And there were others. So, clearly the trial of Jesus was a fake trial.
Now think about that; the Savior of the world was given a fake trial. The Savior of the world was unjustly crucified. Yet, Jesus knew this was all a part of God’s plan. On Thursday night, just before Jesus’ arrest, Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will but thine be done.”
So, if you have been mistreated… lied about… unjustly accused… Jesus understands. He had those things happen to him as well.

Judas Iscariot Betrays Jesus.

April 17, 2014

(My blog posts this week are taken from the daily events of Holy Week this week.)
Sunday – Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
Monday – Jesus’ Cleanses The Temple
Tuesday – The Barren Fig Tree
Wednesday – The Blood Moon And Jesus Talks About End Times

Benedict Arnold.
The very name is synonymous with treason. Even today, someone who bails out on someone may be referred to as a “Benedict Arnold.” But before Benedict Arnold, there was the man who is the ultimate traitor of all time. That man is Judas Iscariot.
The name “Judas” equals traitor. Not literally, but symbolically. The Bible says that Judas was one of Jesus twelve disciples. On Wednesday night of Holy Week, the Bible says “Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
So, Judas looked for an opportunity to betray Christ to the High Priests.
So. Judas is a bad guy. We might say that Judas was lower than a skunk and that is right but, we have a little of Judas in us. Whoa now! Don’t start throwing stones at me. Hear me out.
When we tell someone we are a Christian, that means that we are followers of Christ. Then, after letting the world know we are Christians, we live in a manner that is not Christ-like.. we are doing exactly what Judas did… we are betraying Christ. We may have a bumper sticker on our car that says “I love Jesus” but we go to our church and criticize the staff or share gossip on someone in the form of “we need to pray for this person.” That kind of lifestyle is not becoming of Jesus.
We betray Christ by failing to live for Jesus.
We betray Christ by failing to honor God with the wealth He has given us.
We betray Christ by watching things we shouldn’t watch.
We betray Christ by being dishonest.
Every day, we have a little of Judas in us but, we don’t have to stay there.
The Bible says that Judas felt remorse and hung himself. That’s right… hung himself. Question: How much remorse do we feel when repeat gossip? When we don’t tithe? When we miss worship to play golf or go fishing or hunting?
This Holy Week, as we are reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made, let’s ask the Lord to help us live more completely. To be more committed. To live a purer life. To be more generous givers.
Let’s determine NOT to betray Jesus.

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The Blood Moon And The Teachings Of Jesus

April 16, 2014

(My blog posts this week are based on the daily events of Holy Week)
Sunday – Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
Monday – Jesus’ Cleansing The Temple
Tuesday – The Lesson Of The Fig Tree

The “blood moon” has been in the news this week. The “blood moon” in simple terms, is caused by a lunar eclipse. Some have interpreted the “blood moon” as a sign from God. I don’t know that is or isn’t but I know this, people have been speculating about the end of time for years.
In Matthew 24, on Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus talked to His disciples about the end of times. In vs.4-8 Jesus said “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”
I don’t know when Jesus will return. Nor does anyone else. Are we closer to the return of Christ? Sure, with every passing day we get closer. And, many preachers have felt like their generation was the generation to see the return of Christ.
We are living in perilous times. No question about. But instead of spending our time predicting the return of Christ, we need to do exactly what Jesus told us to do which is, share the gospel.
Regarding the second coming, God didn’t put me on the time, place and preacher committee but on the nominating committee. My job is to try to get as many people ready for the return of Christ possible. Join me in doing that.

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Are Our Lives Producing Spiritual Fruit?

April 15, 2014

(This week’s blog posts are taken from the daily events during Holy Week.)
Sunday: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
Monday: Jesus Cleanses The Temple

On Tuesday of Holy week Jesus and His disciples were going back to Jerusalem. As they did, they saw a fig tree. Jesus was hungry and went to the fig tree to pick figs to eat. But, instead of finding figs, Jesus looked carefully at the tree and found nothing but leaves (Matthew 21:19).
The fig tree was a symbolic reminder of Israel. The spiritual leaders of Israel gave the appearance of being very spiritual. However, their lives had produced no fruit. The fig tree gave the appearance of having fruit but had nothing but leaves. So ,the tree was a symbol of Israel.
Our lives should produce Christian fruit. Paul talked about the “fruit of the spirit” in Galations 5:22-23. If our salvation experience is real, our lives should produce fruit. But, if the Lord were to examine our lives, what would he find? Would he find fruit or, would he find “nothing but leaves?” Jesus said in Matthew 7:20, “By their fruits you shall know them.”
This week, as we remember the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, let’s evaluate our Christian lives. Are we reading God’s word? Are we spending time in prayer? Do we worship? Are we giving? These are all visible indicators of our walk with Christ.
As you evaluate your life, it would be easy to try to justify the lack of fruit in our lives by looking at the lives of others. But that would be a mistake. We are not fruit INSPECTORS but fruit PRODUCERS.
Today, does your life providence EVIDENCE of spiritual fruit? It should. If it doesn’t, we need to re-commit our lives to Christ.

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Monday Of Holy Week: Jesus Cleansing The Temple

April 14, 2014

This week is Holy Week. My plans this week are to blog on the events that took place during Holy Week. Yesterday my post was on Jesus’ triumphal entry. Today, we look at the events on Monday of Holy Week.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday during the Passover. The Passover was the major feast of the Jews. A carnival like atmosphere was taking place around the Temple because of the Passover. When Jesus saw this, He was moved with anger and turned over the tables of the money-changers. As He did, Jesus said, “My House shall be called a House of Prayer; but you are making it a Robbers Den” (Matthew 21:13).
What made Jesus so angry? It was the lack of reverence for the temple, the House of God, that bothered Jesus. The temple.. God’s house.. a place of worship had become somewhat like a carnival. The same can happen today. When we worship, we should do so with reverence. But what does that mean? Does it mean dressing up? What does it mean?
I think more important than anything is our attitude toward worship. We need to remember that we are worshiping Jesus Christ; King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The style of music doesn’t matter to me. Church pews or theatre seats doesn’t matter. Dress doesn’t matter. What matters is our attitude toward God. Quite honestly, someone in a t-shirt and shorts may have more reverence in worship than someone in a suit. It’s not our clothing… it’s our heart. When we worship, we are giving adoration to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are praising the Savior of the World!
One of the BEST worship experiences I’ve ever dad was at a youth camp in 2000. The camp was held at West Palm Beach College in Palm Beach, Florida. Every night, the place was picked with teen-agers. The two young men leading worship were two college students. No one had on a suit. The worship team dressed in jeans. There were no church pews but, the spirit that week was phenomenal! I didn’t want it to end!
Worship is not about the place or the clothing or the music style. It’s about the heart. Jesus said, “My house is to be a house of prayer.” As we begin Holy Week, let’s do with an attitude of worship and respect and reverence.

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