“What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever.”
1 Cor. 4:18
For some of us the journey has gotten long, very long. It’s wrong to ever try to minimize anyone’s trials along the journey. Some of you have shouldered burdens that few of us could have carried. Some of you have said good-bye to life-long partners. Others have been robbed of life-long dreams. Some have bodies that can no longer sustain the spirit within you. You may have bills that regularly outnumber the paychecks.
And you are tired. Through the darkness of the storm it’s hard to see the lights of the City. You’re tempted to pull over to the side of the road and start walking back. You want to go on but something inside says the road’s just too long.
I hope this encourages you . . . God never said that the journey would be easy or sunny or smooth, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.
All In and Holding on to the One Who’s been there
“Jesus will keep you strong until the end so that there will be no wrong in you on the day our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.” 1 Cor. 1:8
God is not finished with you. You may think He is, you may think you’ve peaked, you may think He’s got someone else to do the job now. But you need to think again. “God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure He will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” Phil. 1:6
See what He’s doing? A good work in you . . .
See when He’ll be finished? When Jesus comes again . . .
Do I have to spell it out for you? God’s not finished with you yet! Live like it.
All In with the One who’s all in with me
The psalmist cried “How long O Lord? How long?”
How long must I endure this sickness?
How long must I endure this spouse?
How long must I endure this poverty?
God could answer, you know. He could tell you exactly how long within the element of time. “Two more years you will be sick.” “The rest of your life you will be in this marriage.” “Ten more years before you get caught up financially.”
But He doesn’t do that. Instead He chooses to measure the “here and now” against the “there and then” of eternity. And when you compare this life to that life, this isn’t so long.
All In for Eternal Life
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Let’s not answer the wrong part of the question. Who can be against us; that’s easy, disease, inflation, corruption, exhaustion, stress, calamities, confrontations and fears. The list can go on and on. It’s easy to list our foes, harder to fight them. Here’s the REAL question, “if God is for us”, do we believe God is for us?
God is for you. Your parents may shut you out, in school teachers may have treated you like you were invisible, some old friends may treat you as though ashamed of you. But within reach of your prayers today is the Maker of the oceans, and He is for you!
All In with the One who knows my name
“What good is it my brothers and sisters if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds . . . In the same way faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Someone asked, “Pastor why aren’t more churches getting involved?” and my response was simply “I don’t know”.
Reading the Word of God is not about “knowing” stuff, it’s about “doing” stuff now that you know.
I recently read these words, “People are far more interested in what works than what’s true”.
I think the church, when it stands before the Christ of the harvest, is going to have to answer for its lack of passion to send workers into the harvest.
God help us, not to be deterred by the hesitancy of others, rather draw us ever further into the fray.
All In, not just in sight of the battle, but in.
“Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God.”
Imagine the outcome if God honored and granted every request we ever make. It would be chaos. God’s destiny for your life is salvation. His overarching desire is that you reach that eternal destiny, saved and safe at home in heaven. When His sovereign plan and your earthly plan collide, a decision must be made. Who’s in charge of your journey? If God must choose between your earthly satisfaction and your heavenly salvation, which do you hope He chooses? Me too!
All In with the One who knows what is best for me
As we pulled away from the Palace last night Karen said “that was a great Sunday”. She was right, and yet somehow the word “great” doesn’t quite describe what happened yesterday. 10-12 people stood at the close of the 8:30 service and we thank God for every one of them. One of our newest members of the congregation came to me with tears in his eyes thanking me for the message; he and his wife both stood at the close of the service. The 10:45 service closed with an overwhelming, absolutely amazing response as almost simultaneously at least 150 stood to their feet and recited the sinner’s prayer together. One woman saw her sister, her niece and her son stand. Two young men 18/19 years old stood and my heart was thrilled. So many of our teens responded to what I’m sure was the first time they’d ever heard a description of hell. And then to see the embraces and hugs and tears as people rejoiced together. Four young women came to me after the service and you could see the amazement in their faces, without words to express what they were feeling.
Last night at the Palace our choir rocked the house and then the crowd was open and receptive to the message. It was great to see so many Nazarenes there and I am truly thankful.
I loved the song Pastor Matt led us in yesterday morning that says: “When I saw the cleansing fountain, open wide for all my sin, I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing, when He said wilt thou be clean. I will praise Him, I will praise Him. Praise the Lamb for sinners slain”. I guess that about sums up what happened yesterday.
Thank you for letting me be your pastor and for your being so supportive.
All In, maybe even all inner than before
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”
How long has it been since you let God have you? I mean really “have” you. How long since you gave Him a portion of uninterrupted time listening for His voice? Apparently Jesus did that a lot. He made a deliberate effort to spend time with the Father God.
Jesus had a listening life. He spent regular time with God, praying and listening. Mark writes, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed”, Mk. 1:35.
Here’s the obvious question: if Jesus, Son of God Jesus, sinless Savior Jesus, thought it worthwhile to clear His calendar to pray, wouldn’t we be wise to do the same? Pray for what? Well if you prayed for your pastor this week, that would be great.
All In with the Listening Savior
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”
We were visiting a church yesterday while on vacation and the pastor was preaching a series called “Lost”. I remember a debate on whether or not we should refer to the unsaved as lost; some felt that was an offensive term that put people off. I don’t know where I come down on that debate but I do know that anyone without Jesus Christ in this life is wandering through a wilderness of sin and selfishness as though lost without any bearings.
In his message he talked about how he had recently lost his cell phone. He described the awful feelings of panic and fear. What if someone finds it and tweets something he doesn’t agree with or starts sending crude text messages as though they were from him. He told of how he looked everywhere, retraced his steps four, no five times. For thirty minutes he was distraught thinking he’d lost that device.
Many of us in the congregation understood how he felt. I’m not sure we understand how God feels about what He has lost, to sin and the devil. The preciousness of a cell phone hardly compares to the value of an eternal soul. Had the cell phone truly been lost, unfound, the pastor could have just gone to the Apple store and bought a new one. If a soul is truly lost, unsaved, there is no replacement, no consolation, and in light of Christ’s sacrifice, no worthy explanation.
Are there people in your life who are “lost”? Pray for them today, and tomorrow. Maybe you could invite them to church this Sunday.
Just do whatever God would have you to do.
All In with the One who still seeks the lost
“Depend on the Lord, trust Him, and
He will take care of you.”
God is committed to caring for our needs. Paul tells us (1 Tim. 5:8) that a man who won’t feed his own family is worse than an infidel. How much more will a holy God care for His children? After all, how can we fulfill His mission unless our needs are met? How can we minister or influence unless we have our basic needs satisfied? Would God enlist us into His army and not provide a commissary?
One translation of Heb. 13:20 is “I pray that the God of peace will give you everything you need so you can do what He wants”. That prayer has been answered in my life; has it in yours? It may not have always been a feast, but I’ve never gone without food. Maybe it wasn’t a banquet but there was always enough. And, many times it has been a banquet!
All In with the God who cares about me.