Tuesday, February 9, 2016

10 Foundational Truths About The Bible

This Sunday, I said that we can get the most out of our faith if we stay connected to God. Remaining connected to Him requires that we ROUTINELY spend time in His Word. Below are some basic truths about God's Word. If you are going to read the book, make sure you understand the book.


  • Since we are created and God is uncreated, we cannot know anything about Him unless He reveals it to us.
  • God reveals things about himself through nature (general revelation) and through His Word (specific revelation).
  • In His Word (the Bible), we can discover everything God wants us to know about Himself.
  • God revealed Himself in the Bible by inspiring regular men to write the precise Words He desired them to communicate.
  • The Bible is inspired, trustworthy and authoritative.
  • To be properly understood, the Bible must be read in context (as it was written).
  • The Bible is 66 individual books which all work together to tell one story.
  • The story of the Bible can be summarized as "Creation - Fall - Redemption - Reconciliation".
  • At the end, God will make all things new; and He will live among us.
  • The SOAPY study is a simple way to dig in to the Bible every day.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

You can get out from under that cloud of gloom!

Joel, the prophet, called on the nation of Israel to repent. Chapter two of his writings paints a frightening picture of the impending doom his countrymen faced. He predicted the advance of a powerful attacking army such as had never been seen before. He described those days as dark, cloudy and gloomy.

But he also reminded Israel that their God was still able to save them. “Even at this late hour” he said, “When things look so bad, our God can still save the day.” He reminded his friends that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and One who relents from punishing. 

“Even though we don’t deserve it” Joel preached, “God still may rescue us!”

He called the nation to repent. Old people, young people, even babies were to gather and cry out for salvation. This was not time for celebration. Joel told bridegrooms and brides to leave their ceremony and join the congregation in a nationwide appeal to God. “Spare your people, O LORD” they cried out, “Do not let your reputation be mocked. Do not let people say, ‘Where is their God?’”


The prayer Joel prescribed for Israel can also be prayed by you. You may not face an advancing hoard of Assyrians, or locusts, or a famine. You may however find yourselves in dark days, living under a cloud of gloom. Perhaps it is time for you to turn back to God, your Father and allow Him to step in and save you.

Use the prayer of Israel as a template of your own repentance.

A TRULY REPENTANT PRAYER IS ABOUT GOD’S GLORY:
  • Recognize that your sin besmirches God’s reputation
  • Look into your heart to discover genuine and authentic pain for the negative publicity you have brought to God’s name
  • Recognize that your salvation enhances God’s salvation
  • Let your repentance be a promissory note to repay God’s mercy and grace with your own public worship and witness.

“Rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

Everybody Hurts For Everybody

How do you respond when trouble hits? Do you get angry, fearful, resentful, anxious or depressed? Do you withdraw? Do you compartmentalize? Do you lean on others?

Everybody hurts sometime. REM said so. And our experience tells us so. We suffer and we've seen the people around us suffer.

Questions swim around in our mind when we wade through stormy waters:

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • Is God angry with me?
  • How is this going to end?


Rarely (or never) do we ask a more important question:

  • How might others benefit from my suffering?


Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

Paul recognized that his desire to share the Gospel with as many people as possible would inevitably lead to suffering. (It did, he almost died on many occasions before he finally died) He also recognized that his suffering was beneficial for other people.

Somewhere along my own journey (I have no idea when), I read this passage and wrote the following notes in the margin of my Bible.

Everything we go through is in part for the good of others. Whether our situation is good or bad, it can be helpful for someone else. This is God's way of reconciling us not only to Him but also to one another. A question we should ask in every situation is, "For whom am I experiencing this?"... This could be a game-changer.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Endurance Is The Pathway To Living Free



James said that suffering leads to endurance and endurance makes us complete.

Paul said that endurance builds character and character leads to hope.

Chumbawamba said "I get knocked down; but I get up again."

We would all like to think that once we start something, we work at it until we finish it. We believe that once we quit something, we never have to worry about it again. Truth is, we rarely finish what we start without slipping up a time or two along the way. We are rarely successful at quitting cold turkey.

The secret is ENDURANCE.

Success is the result of continuous effort in the face of overwhelming odds. Growth occurs when we dust ourselves off and keep going no matter how badly we've failed.

Peter said we need to work out our salvation daily. On the cross, Jesus did everything necessary to set us free from the sin that enslaves us. He offers us that freedom, we only need to accept it and keep accepting it.

John said if we confess our sins, God will forgive us and make us righteous. So, 

next time you mess up... 
next time you fall into an old habit... 
next time you slip back to the old way of life... 

Confess, Get up, Keep Going & Embrace your freedom in Christ.

Friday, January 29, 2016

You Will Become Like The People Who Surround You

Many churches consistently push people toward small groups as a vehicle to help them grow. This isn't just a churchy thing, though. "Secular" research also suggests that the people whom we allow to influence us will either drag us down or pull us up to their level.

Monday, January 4, 2016

9 reMARKable thoughts from Mark 1.


Mark 1:14-15: Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Our question is not just "How did Jesus act?" In view of His action, we must also ask, "What should be my reaction?"
Don't be so consumed waiting for tomorrow's miracle, that you miss God's provisions and opportunities today.
Anywhere the King's authority is accepted and obeyed is a kingdom outpost.
Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men.
Repentance is more than just an apology. It is words, not actions. It is an intentional effort to discontinue the old in favor of the new.
Belief is more than just a one time prayer asking Jesus into your heart. It is the full embrace of a new way of life.
Repentance and belief is like remodeling an old house. It's best to simply tear out the old so that the new can be built appropriately.
Jesus understood people wouldn't immediately be made perfect upon hearing His teachings. He was inviting them to join Him on a journey.
Jesus didn't come to earth, die on the cross, rise from the dead and return to heaven so you could "get saved" and then just wait to go to heaven.