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Showing posts from July, 2018

Taking Love for Granted?

There are a lot of areas of my life I would like to improve on.  I have no doubt that people who know me would likely have a few areas unknown to me that they could also add to the list.  That's a scary thought!  Seriously though, there is one area that few of us may be aware of and that one area may even be one that I am not always aware of either! 
 I'm referring to the simple fact of taking the love of God for granted.   There is no greater truth in Scripture than the fact that God loves us.  In the Old Testament, the concept of God's love is often revealed to us in the phrase of God's steadfast love (Hebrew hesed).  This idea of steadfast love is used in the OT alone some 246 times.  God reiterates his love over and over again to both His earthly people Israel and individuals who know Him.  Without doubt, the greatest encouragement which I believe exists about God's steadfast love is God's persistent, consistent passion to love us.  Listen to Soloman's d…

What's the News on your GDP?

Well, this morning we all got the news about the country's GDP (gross domestic product).  The numbers were astounding (4.1) and the future appears to hold even greater possibilities for a long dormant economy that was essentially shrinking and morphing into something formerly unknown to us as Americans.

True growth is both a normal part of life and yes, it is an expected part of life.  Nearly everything God created is supposed to grow!  More importantly, for us as believers, we too are expected to be growing.  In the context of 2 Peter 3:18,  Peter is admonishing believers in his day about the general instability of our present planet, culture, and even spiritual environment.  To all this uncertainty of life here and now, Peter has one singular admonition.

But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is a command not a suggestion! Why?  Because everything else is passing away in time.  However, your growth in Christ will endure eternally.  Desp…

What is God Doing?

That may not sound like a reasonable question but I assure you it is.  Many Christians today lack a real understanding of what God is really doing in their lives.  We have a plethora of authors, preachers, and speakers around us who are literally making millions trying to convince believers that they have an inside scoop on what God wants to do in your life and how their latest book will guide you into spiritual and financial utopia.  One new book spawns another and then another, ad infinitum! 

The question I want to ask you today is simple and right to the point.  Do you know what God is doing right now in your life according to Scripture?  Now I know that someone is going to say that sounds like you are doing exactly what all these other people are doing!  Not really.

The fact is, God is actively doing something in your life right now as a believer, but it probably isn't what many of the health and wealth gospel practitioners are trying to tell you.  The Lord isn't interest…

What Does Genuine Faith Look Like? Part 2

In my last blog I shared the first two principles from Mark 5 on what genuine faith looks like.  For many, faith can be a lot of things, such as positive thinking or the execution of a well laid out plan.
For some, faith is just having faith in faith.   But as we discovered earlier from the story of Jairus, genuine faith doesn't stand on something in itself or rest on itself.  Faith requires an object on which to focus.  In the case of this Jewish scholar, he had abandoned his faith in his religious background and come exclusively to Jesus.  Faith always must have an object in which it exercises belief and exhibits absolute confidence.

Secondly, we saw that genuine faith is recognized by its humility because God "resists the proud but gives grace to the humble."Jairus comes to Jesus with nothing to offer.  He doesn't come to Jesus as a Bible scholar or with a sense of self-importance.  He certainly could have, because he was socially prominant and influential, but h…

What Does Genuine Faith Look Like?

While in Rwanda I promised I would share the key thoughts from Mark 5 about the faith of Jairus that I taught the pastors in their preaching course.   I think you will agree that this Jewish leader truly demonstrates what genuine faith actually looks like.  
Jairus was a synagogue ruler who had one twelve year old daughter who was one year away from marriageable age in the Jewish culture.  Unfortunately, she had become extremely sick and Jairus decided that his daughter’s life was more important than his job, his reputation, prestige and money.  You know why?  Because he decided to put it all on the line and publicly seek out Jesus for healing.  That was likely the deathnell for any hope of maintaining his personal reputation, perhaps even his job!
That leads us to the first principle of what constitutes saving faith.
I. Genuine faith always focuses on the right object. Vs 22
People today love to talk about faith, but true faith has to have an object!  So many people say that they hav…

Delivering the Message

I'm in Kigali, Rwanda teaching a group of native pastors.  This is our sixth class, and it's going well.  These pastors happen to be the replacement pastors for those killed in genocide in 1994.  Our host, Pastor Denys, himself a natural leader, and a miraculous suvivor of the massacre, went out about a month after the three month slaughter and hand picked these men for their faithfulness and willingness to lead their respective congregations.  Twenty years later Global Baptist Training Foundation was founded and through a former Congolese student of mine, I was introduced to Pastor Denys in 2012.  
Now after six years of training we are teachng this week in the work of preaching or delivering Biblical messages.  Accomplishing this class through a translator can be challenging, but I have one of the best translators in the world passing along the information from English to Kinyarwandan.  Today was one of the most satisfing teaching experiences I can remember.  We are working…

Welcome to Rwanda 2018

Rwanda 2018 has begun!  I always dread the long flights, but that part is over and my first day is about complete.  I began the day by preaching in the morning service in Pastor Fidele's church who is my translator.  I preached from Mark 5 on the story of Jairus.  His story shows us what genuine believing looks like.  I will share this in in a week or so with all of our personal blog readers.  Please look for it.  The service today was very well attended and they had several who joined the church after the message.

The year has not started well for the Rwandans.  Heavy spring rains were brutally long and hard this year. It rained non-stop for the months of March and April, and then continued into June for the first two weeks.  The results were devastating in several areas.  Over one hundred people were killed on the hillsides sorrounding this beautiful city.  Houses literally collapsed and washed down the hillsides with people in them.  
The church compound was also affected on th…

The Debt Clock

We have all probably seen the debt clock billboard somewhere.  It's the clock which is keeping track of the national debt.  We are now over 21 trillion dollars in the loss column and counting.  It appears to be absolutely hopeless.  Can the debt ever be paid back?  Perhaps.  But how long will it take and at what cost to us?   Would paying it back force me to change the way I live, my plans, my ambitions?  I think so, but allow me to explain further.

I heard someone say a few years ago, "I'm now about to enter the fourth quarter of my ministry".  I think I know what that meant but I'm more convinced now than ever that this perspective can be greatly improved upon.  Forty-three years ago yesterday, I came to know Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of my life.  I could never forget that moment when the transformation of my life began anymore than if I had won a ten million dollar lottery.  Within weeks, I was a member of a brand new church plant and I was growing …

Waiting....

Have you ever heard someone say, "This is such a waste of time!".  No doubt this person is standing in line somewhere or waiting on someone to accomodate their particular need.  We have a habit in our culture to think waiting is entirely bad.  We think it has no redeeming value, at least to many of us Americans.  We have grown up thinking that immediacy is the best way to live.  From Pop Tarts to instant oatmeal, our culture has taught us to get it now!  But is waiting really a non-essential bust?  Can we, or should we think that immediate gratification is always best?  I don't think so.
The Scripture is packed with nearly 300 admonitions for the believer to learn to wait on God. For instance, the Scripture states,
"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way." (Ps 37:7)
"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Ps 27:14)
Most of us equate waiting on God as inacti…