Jul 2, 2017
How Should You Invest Your Life?
Series: Other
In Luke 6:17-26, Jesus begins His sermon on the plain by looking at two different strategies we can employ when investing our lives. 
 
The way of the world leads to short-term gain. It is based on an attitude of self-sufficiency that often leads to wealth, comfort, and being applauded by this world. However, it inevitably leads to long-term loss, since it is a path that is conducive to rejecting God and leads to compromise. So, don't chase after short-term gains. It may be fun for awhile, but in the end, you'll be filled with sorrow and regret. 
 
The way of the Lord leads to long-term gain. It is based on an attitude of God-dependency that often leads to foregoing what this world has to offer while being rejected by those who toe the party line. However, it inevitably results in one's present entrance into God's Kingdom, as well as future satisfaction and reward. So, follow Jesus to long-term gains. It will entail hard work, sacrifice, and even reject, but in the end, you'll be glad you did.
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  • Jul 2, 2017How Should You Invest Your Life?
    Jul 2, 2017
    How Should You Invest Your Life?
    Series: Other
    In Luke 6:17-26, Jesus begins His sermon on the plain by looking at two different strategies we can employ when investing our lives. 
     
    The way of the world leads to short-term gain. It is based on an attitude of self-sufficiency that often leads to wealth, comfort, and being applauded by this world. However, it inevitably leads to long-term loss, since it is a path that is conducive to rejecting God and leads to compromise. So, don't chase after short-term gains. It may be fun for awhile, but in the end, you'll be filled with sorrow and regret. 
     
    The way of the Lord leads to long-term gain. It is based on an attitude of God-dependency that often leads to foregoing what this world has to offer while being rejected by those who toe the party line. However, it inevitably results in one's present entrance into God's Kingdom, as well as future satisfaction and reward. So, follow Jesus to long-term gains. It will entail hard work, sacrifice, and even reject, but in the end, you'll be glad you did.
  • Jun 25, 2017How Do We Find Amazing Results From An Ordinary Life?
    Jun 25, 2017
    How Do We Find Amazing Results From An Ordinary Life?
    Series: Other
    As we go through life, we may start out looking for something amazing. However, over time, we may become stuck in a rut of ordinariness. This is true not only individually, but also as a local church. Eventually, we may just give up hope of God ever doing anything amazing through us, so we stop looking. 
     
    In Luke 6:12-16, we see how God chooses ordinary people for extraordinary tasks. For instance, Jesus selected twelve ordinary men to be His apostles, through whom He would do extraordinary things. Of course, this should not surprise us, since God has always chosen ordinary people, and He still does so today. 
     
    So, for extraordinary results, rely heavily on an extraordinary God. Jesus set the example Himself as He went to God the Father in prayer all night before making a pivotal decision regarding His apostles. Remember, God's ordinary people have succeeded in so far as they depend on the Lord. So, be faithful in prayer, remain obedient to the the mission even in the small stuff, and be patient. And ... don't stop looking!!
  • Jun 11, 2017How Should I Respond When Others’ Problems Impose On My Life?
    Jun 11, 2017
    How Should I Respond When Others’ Problems Impose On My Life?
    Series: Other
    Sometimes, other people make choices that harm us directly, or they find themselves in situations that affect us indirectly. As followers of Jesus, how should we respond? Should we demand our rights? Should we just ignore them? Not surprisingly, the right answer is found in an attitude of our heart that reflects the heart of Jesus.
     
    In Luke 6:1-11, the Jewish religious leaders exemplified people who think they can please God through religious observance. Therefore, fulfilling one's ceremonial religious duties is of greatest importance. This attitude is sadly prevalent in many churches today, where people zealously protect traditions and treasured practices in the local church at all costs.
     
    However, Jesus demonstrated that God desires mercy from His people. Whereas the Jewish leaders and many churchgoers today crush people with their traditions, Jesus exercised compassion and mercy.
     
    So, love mercy. Ask yourself, "To whom is God calling me to extend mercy? How can I extend mercy to that person in a practical, tangible way?" Then, repent of misplaced priorities and excuses like demanding your rights or personal comfort or copping out because you're too busy. Remember, failing to do the good that God has set before you to do is sin, and it can ruin and destroy people and relationships. Instead, look for opportunities, be ready to serve, and love mercy. 
  • Jun 4, 2017How Should We Respond To Change In The Church?
    Jun 4, 2017
    How Should We Respond To Change In The Church?
    Series: Other
    Many local churches are dying partly because, being steeped in tradition, they are unwilling to implement necessary changes, even when such changes are directed by God.
     
    Jesus addressed this issue with the Jewish religious leaders in Luke 5:33-39. For, many Jewish people in Jesus' day resisted the change that Jesus brought. Misunderstanding who Jesus was, they tried to conform Jesus to their ways. Since they were too set in their Judaism to change, they missed out on the greatest change in human history.
     
    Of course, this should not surprise us, since God's people have always resisted change. For one example, consider how the Israelites resisted all the way during the Exodus. Throughout Israel's history and church history, even to the present day, God's people resist necessary change. They fail to realize that there comes a time when the forms of a local church ministry must change in order to accomplish the functions of ministry that God has set forth for the church in His Word. 
     
    Therefore, embrace divinely directed change. If you're resistant, ask yourself, "Why?" Does the change violate the Scriptures? Is the change being made for the wrong reasons? Are you just comfortable with the way things are now? If you are genuinely concerned, then ask honest questions to the right people.
  • May 28, 2017How Can We Help People Know Jesus?
    May 28, 2017
    How Can We Help People Know Jesus?
    Series: Other
    People need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal and abundant life both in this present life and in the age to come. As followers of Jesus, we have been commissioned to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior just as we do. So, how should we help people know Jesus? 
     
    In Luke 5:27-32, we find two contrasting approaches to people who are presently living their lives far from God. First, the Pharisees and Scribes practiced segragation.  Segragation drives people away from God, because it sees people for who they are without God and stays away our of pride and fear. Second, Jesus and Levi practiced association. Association draws people nearer to God, because it sees people for who they could be with God and approaches them out of humility and love.
     
    So, strategically bring people to Jesus. Look around you. Be intentional. Use your personal style. Then, let Jesus be Jesus. Having pointed people to Jesus through the words of the gospel and your testimony, let Jesus do the rest, opening their eyes and bringing conviction to their heart as only God can.
  • May 14, 2017Will Jesus Still Care About Me?
    May 14, 2017
    Will Jesus Still Care About Me?
    Series: Other
    Sometimes, we may wonder if Jesus could still care about us given the way that we've treated Him or ignored Him or on account of something we've done or undesirable things in our background. We can learn on this subject from Jesus' interaction with a man with leprosy in
    Luke 5:12-16.
     
    In these verses, we see how Jesus loved an "unlovable" leper. For, this man had been enduring a living death in a painless hell before he came to Jesus in humility and faith. Jesus was probably this man's last hope. However, while everyone else would have ignored this man, Jesus had compassion on him and cleansed him.
     
    Jesus has demonstrated compassion to you, as well. His cleansing of the leper is something amazing that really happened, but it is also a living parable of the spiritual ministry for which Jesus came. For, leprosy in Jesus' day had a close association with sin, the latter being a condition that is common to all people. Our sin is a lot uglier than we might realize. It renders us unapproachable by a holy God. And yet, Jesus, being fully God, not only came, but provided cleansing for your sin. 
     
    So, receive Jesus' compassionate cleansing. Come to Jesus as your only hope in humble faith. Walk in the new life for which He cleanses you. Then, share your testimony that others might be cleansed, too. 
  • May 7, 2017How Can You Become A Good And Faithful Servant?
    May 7, 2017
    How Can You Become A Good And Faithful Servant?
    Series: Other
     
    To be accepted into a right relationship with God by grace through faith in Jesus is truly a miracle. However, as we submit to the gracious work of God in our lives, we find in the Scriptures that we can also become good and faithful servants to the Lord. 
     
    In Luke 5:1-11, we find three characteristics of a good and faithful servant exemplified by Simon Peter. Through Peter's example, we learn that faithful servants obey when Jesus gives the word. Faithful servants are also humble before Jesus. Finally, faithful servants are fully committed to the call. 
     
    So, what about you? Are you obedient to God's commands, even when it's hard. Do you realize that you bring nothing to the table before a holy God? Are you all in with Jesus? For, these heart attitudes of reverence, humility, and faith characterize the good and faithful servants through whom Jesus can do great things for God's glory.
  • Apr 30, 2017Does Jesus Have What It Takes To Keep His Promises?
    Apr 30, 2017
    Does Jesus Have What It Takes To Keep His Promises?
    Series: Other
    Sometimes we get broken down by this fallen world. Satan exerts his influence both directly and indirectly. The world is characterized by sickness and death.
     
    In Luke 4:31-44, we see evidence of such brokenness in people's lives when they came in contact with Jesus. However, we also see that Jesus came to fix that. Jesus has power and authority over demons and disease. He genuinely cares enough to do something about it. He is not disuaded by politics. 
     
    Are you broken by this fallen world? Turn to Jesus! He is willing and able to keep His promises. Therefore, He is is the basis for hope to persevere.
  • Apr 23, 2017Who Do I Say That I Am?
    Apr 23, 2017
    Who Do I Say That I Am?
    Series: Other
    The greatest question of all demands a great response, namely, "Who do I say Jesus is?" However, so many arrive at the wrong answer to this question because they've failed to come to terms with an even more basic question, namely, "Who do I say that I am?" 
     
    It is this second question that led to conflicting responses when Jesus began His public ministry as recorded in Luke 4:14-30. In that passage, we find that people want to embrace the popular view of Jesus, but His claims won't let them. For, Jesus claimed to be the Prophet, the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior of the World. Jesus also claimed that God's favor is only for spiritual "losers" who recognize that they bring nothing to the table that would merit God's acceptance. 
     
    So, ask yourself, "Who do I say that I am?" Are you basically a good person whom God should accept on your own merits? If so, then like the people of Nazareth in Jesus' day, you've already made up your mind that the real Jesus isn't for you. On the other hand, are you a spiritual loser in need of a Savior? If so, then humbly come to Jesus in faith, and you will find the grace that you need, not only for salvation, but to live the life for which God created you.
  • Apr 16, 2017The Greatness Of The Resurrection
    Apr 16, 2017
    The Greatness Of The Resurrection
    Series: Easter
    True greatness demands a response. In John 20:24-31, we witness the interchange between Thomas and the resurrected Christ, a truly great moment in history. In this account, we find Thomas, a great man, making high demands. Jesus satisfied the high demands but with a great command. Thomas then made a great confession to which Jesus responded with a great blessing.
     
    Are you wrestling with doubt concerning Jesus. Then, in the words of Jesus to Thomas,
    stop doubting and believe. Believe what Thomas believed, namely, that Jesus is your Lord and your God. The evidence is more than sufficient to provide a great response to the greatest question of all: Who do you Jesus is? Stop doubting and believe.