Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Does God Really Care About the Details of Your Life?

You know, there are times when I study God’s Word, and I get goosebumps when I see God’s hand.  Did you know that the temple of Jerusalem, the city which overlooked the hill of Jesus’ death…were located on what is called a “seismic ridge”, a geological fault line that extends all the way to the Great Rift Valley in Kenya.

You think God didn’t know where Jesus was to killed…where his death would be?  He did!  To think when God created the world, HE knew the very place where this fault line would be…He knew in how he formed the earth that in that specific place…there would be an earthquake that would reverberate from the core of the world he created for man to live.

You don’t think God is in every detail?  You think your life is any different?  That God doesn’t have a plan, that He doesn’t know your suffering, that He isn’t in complete control?  He was, and is, and always will be.

An Excerpt from the sermon called “The Earth Shook”.  (Watch the entire sermon here)

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Selfishness Has Many Faces

Let me just give you a few examples of selfishness that you are pretty familiar with:

  • Burger Kings says “Have it ________ way” (YOUR)
  • Sprite says “Obey __________ thirst” (YOUR)
  • L’Oreal Hair Products say “Because ________ worth it” (YOU’RE)
  • Bon Jovi’s song called “It’s ____ life”(MY) & The Beatles sang song called “I, Me, Mine”

We have been conditioned by our culture to think of ourselves as most important.  It’s encouraged to be selfish…to look out for NUMBER 1.  Jesus says and did differently…You know what I have discovered… My selfishness is everywhere!  It’s like the dishes after dinner…you think you got all the big pots and pans…the plates…but then you find a sippy cup under the table.  “Aw man, How did I miss that!?!”

Just as I think I have my selfishness under control, I find it in another part of my life.

  • It’s when I want the traffic to go my way and all the lights to be green for ME.
  • It’s the quiet I think I deserve when come home from work – w/ 4 kids under the age of 8, it’s not just selfish, but impossible.
  • It’s when I get a fresh bottle of root beer…and several little voices ask for a sip.

You see how many faces selfishness can have?  It is FRIGHTENING!

Read Philippians 2:3-4

The Do’s & Don’ts – This essentially is a list of Do’s & Don’ts – ever since we were kids, we don’t like do’s and don’ts…and our flesh wants to continue to fight them…but if you play this out, you can see how a your life could be derailed by not following this list.

First the Do’s –  Have same mind/same love, Have humility, Look to the needs of others.  The Don’ts – Have Selfishness, Have Pride, Look to your own needs.  Why are these important?  Well, let’s look at what happens if you follow the don’t list…

  • Selfish – not have love for others
  • Pride – credit will not be given to the Savior
  • Look after you own interests – Please only yourself

Conversely, if you follow the do list…Love/Mind of Christ – accomplish the work of Christ…Humility – not get in the way of God working…Look at interests of others – reach needs & reach hearts of others

You can’t have the same mind & love of Christ if you have selfishness. It’s just not possible.  Isn’t that interesting – when we do what we want…we don’t think it will affect others.  But, in the end, nothing could be worse for our relationship with others than selfishness.

Humility is the complete opposite of selfishness.  Paul is saying – this must describe you.  And it might describe us!  As a follower of Christ – we are to be a servant, a humble follower of Jesus.  What an attitude.  An attitude I hope each of us can adopt – To where nothing is done in selfishness or pride.  Where we say “God did that”, not “I did that”.  Where we say “These people need Jesus” not “these people need my help”.  Where we say “How can I serve others” not “I’d rather just be comfortable” Picture1

So, two questions to ask ourselves:

  1. Why do you do the things you do?
  • Please yourself – Make yourself feel good? Avoid hardship as much as possible? Eat, Drink, & Be Merry philosophy?
  • Please others – To make people proud of you. To be able to brag to people what you do for a living…or how you help other people. So people see you as a good person.
  • Please God – Are you on this planet to bring others TO Him. What you do is not for your own comfort, to promote your business or your name…do ALL for the glory of God.
  1. Can I think of others higher than myself?
  • Means giving your attention to someone even when your eyes can barely stay open
  • Means listening to the Holy Spirit – leading you to help others
  • Means going outside your comfort zone for the betterment of someone else

In Philippians 2:6-11, we see the mind of Christ played out in one of the most beautiful pieces of literature ever written.  When you think of Jesus’ death – can’t help but think who he died for…the murderers, the rapists, and those on death row.  And he died for you, and for me.  Talk about humility, the King of Kings…nailed to a cross to die for all those that spit in His face.

Jesus showed his humility.  He showed it.  Because a man who just says he is humble and does not show it – is just the opposite.  And once you say you are humble, it is very likely you just lost your humility.  Look at the example of Christ…his humility, his love, and his willingness to put others first.  Selfishness has many faces…that’s why we need to not look in the mirror, but look to Christ.

Listen to the entire sermon here (9/4/2016)

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Why Turning 33 is Significant

At a young age, people began realizing he was special. He had a gift. He was wise beyond his years. At times, even his parents were overshadowed by his brilliance and insight. Although we do not know much about his childhood, history picks it up in his early 30’s.

Although he lived in the early 1st century, we still find a plethora of information. We read how this man started a revolution. His exploits are still talked about today, worldwide. His compassion for people is an example to many. His life is the epitome of a life well-lived. His example is taught in many places as one to follow and replicate as close as possible. His teachings are studied closely on many academic levels. Those that follow him are sometimes called fanatics, freaks, or outcasts. But, even in the persecution both is word and in deed, people are willing to follow, even to the point of death.214106743_3aebc05551

You would think with the level of following, this man would have lived a long life. But who ever said that to live an important and significant life, you have to live a long life. To the shock of many of his friends, this man was murdered. Because of his teachings, which some viewed as radical and blasphemous, he was killed by the religious leaders of the day. Without proper trial and witnesses, this man was rushed to capital punishment, receiving torturous beatings and ill-treatment along the way.

Yet, most historians have told us his death was at the age of 33. So young for a man with such potential, such influence, such compassion…a tragedy to many. That is, until you hear the name of that man. That man’s name is Jesus, the King of Kings, and the Savior of the World. Jesus Christ, the Messiah! With only 33 years of life, He turned the world upside down. He defeated sin and death. He wrestled with the enemy and pinned him the ground for all eternity. A ministry full of miracles, timeless teaching, healing, encouragement, counsel, and wisdom.

For some, they would say His life was too short. But those that know who Jesus is, they know the significance of his life. They know what He accomplished, and the eternal consequences of His death and resurrection. They know His death was needed to be forgiven. They know the Savior’s life was given, not taken, so we might have eternity in paradise.

Why is turning 33 significant? Well, it was yesterday that I turned 33 years old. What have I done that even compares to the Savior? Look what he accomplished in 33 years of life. Sure, He is God, so I am at a bit of a disadvantage. But it doesn’t mean I should not try. Try to have compassion on people who many have left behind. Try to bring forgiveness to hurting hearts by sharing the Gospel. Try to teach God’s Word, because it is from my Heavenly Father too. Try to live by the will of the Father.

Turning 33 is humbling. I look back and see what all I have done for the kingdom, and it truly pales in comparison to just 3 years of the Savior’s ministry. I realize I will try many of things that Jesus did so perfectly and often fail. But it doesn’t mean I should not try. Jesus’ ministry on earth ended in this year of his life, but as mine continues, I hope to accomplish just one pinky nail of what Jesus did. I can’t do it on my own. I need Jesus. I need my Heavenly Father. Jesus, please help my ministry to have more in common with you than just age, because next year, I won’t have that in common with you any more.jesus-nazareth-585-300x225

 

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Why a $325 Million Contract Does Not Equal Happiness

Giancarlo Stanton. If you are a sports fan, you know the name. He is the Miami Marlins star outfielder that just signed a 13 year, $325 million dollar contract. To put it into perspective, this baseball player will make more in one at bat than my current annual salary! Every hour, he makes nearly $3,000 or $70,000 per day. That’s insane, and still some writers say he is underpaid.

stanton_signing.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxImmediately following his contract signing, he goes out and parties the night away. His exploits included attending a night club and drinking from a $20,000 bottle of champagne. I blush at the price of a milkshake at Steak n’ Shake sometimes. I can’t imagine paying more for a drink than for my family’s minivan.

You are probably wondering my point. Athletes sign exorbitant contracts all the time. See Kevin Durant, or this list when you have a spare second. You will wonder where the money comes from, and what in the world they do with all that coin (I know I would be tempted to put it all in gold coins and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck). Big deal (pardon the pun) right? In the end, it isn’t a big deal at all. In fact, I think of the many athletes that squander their money, only to find themselves selling their Super Bowl rings, going bankrupt, or putting their mansions on the market.enter-through-the-narrow-gate-001

What is missing? I can’t help but think of Giancarlo Stanton after he wakes up from a night of partying. Did the money really give him the satisfaction he was hoping for when he picked up the pen to sign that monster deal? (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 for the answer to that question)….

For those that didn’t take the time to read Ecclesiastes, I’ll give you the short answer “No!”. Money can’t buy happiness. In fact, even the hip hop community makes the claim “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. But yet people still buy lottery tickets, flood to casinos on pay day, and hope for that next promotion. But what does money promise? Nothing that lasts.

Although in Matthew 7, we learn that few will take the narrow road to eternal happiness. Many will take the broad road filled with shallowness, futility, and corruptible gains. While there was nothing wrong with Stanton’s contract per se, I just wouldn’t waste your time being jealous of it. For those who know Christ, your reward is much greater.  If you don’t know Christ, I encourage you to sign your life over to him…it’s a contract with no fine print, but many built-in incentives, it’s not performance based, and it lasts forever.

Matthew 5:12a – Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven

DCF 1.0

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (2013-14 Edition)

Curriculum Review:   Do You Know This Man? By Lifeway Christian Resources

The Good:

This ended up being one of my favorite series I’ve taught. The curriculum does a great job, first of knownall, in engaging culture. There are quotes from a wide range of celebrities, athletes and historical figures, from Mike Tyson to George W. Bush. Now that is a range of voices.

Additionally, it centers on a specific passage of Scripture, and provides easy teaching points from that passage. The points are already established for you, and it doesn’t force you to come up with your own teaching outline.

The activity pages are a thing of beauty. There is so much creativity there, and provides multiple avenues of learning. Whether your students are visual, auditory, or hands-on, you got it all in these lessons. There are also additional resources available online.

The Bad:

The series was a bit short for my liking. So I decided to stretch the mid-week discussion into a second week of material. It took a little creativity, but with a little work, there was enough material within the primary and mid-week curriculum to make two significant teaching lessons.

The Scriptural depth is lacking at times. Although it does a good job of diving deep within the main teaching passage, it lacks parallel Scripture to add to the subject at hand.

The Grade: B+

The Scriptural depth could use some improvement in areas, but if you are willing to dig a little deeper, this curriculum is all you need to provide a dynamite study of the precious Savior. With visuals out your ears, compact outlines, activities, and cultural parallels, you are set. I fully recommend this curriculum for a youth study on Jesus.

EXTRAS:

Videos: Falling Plates; Compassion; Something More; Resurrection

Series Bumpers/Intro: That’s My King; Jesus Changes Everything

Pictures:  Different Cultures Jesus

 

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Compared to Jesus as a Servant, I’m an Ant

Honestly, I can’t even call myself a servant.  More like an ant.  Compared to Jesus Christ, who would wash the feet of the men who would abandon, deny, and betray Him.  Jesus, who died a painful, torturous death for his enemies.  Jesus, who constantly gave himself for those that were cast from society, the poor, the sick, and the needy.  Let’s just do a little comparison.

  1. Jesus:  Washed the feet of men who abandoned him, denied him, and betrayed him.  Me:  I have never washed anyone’s feet besides my wife’s.  Wash the feet of those that betray me?  Jesus wins this one by a landslide.
  2. Jesus:  Died a tortuous death for his enemies.  Me:  Let’s just throw the dying for enemeies out the window and start with – do I love my enemies?  The community, my neighbors, and fans of rival sports teams…they all need God’s love.
  3. Jesus:  Served the sick, poor, and needy.  Me:  Wow.  Boy, do I again fall short.  It’s time I open my eyes to those in need around me, and be a servant to those that are in need, and show Christ’s love.

So you can see why I’m just an ANT, or maybe I’m more like an AIN’T.  God is teaching me about service, and I sure have a long way to go, but I’m glad I have a Savior’s example of how to serve.

What about you?  If your service to others on a daily basis was judged like a waitress at Bob Evans, would you still have a job?  I tell ya, I would probably be told to go wash dishes.  It may start with taking your judgmental glasses off.  You may need to be okay with some un-noticed, behind-the-scenes, dirty work.  You have to start somewhere…even if it is doing some yard work for the elderly couple on the corner, or serving in nursery at church, or writing someone a thank you note every week…it’s time we start being a servant to others.  Remember, Christ + IAN = Christian.  So, without Christ, I Am Nothing.  It’s time we serve like Christ did.  Instead of being just an ANT or an AIN’T, it’s time to be a SERVANT.

 

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